East Texas agencies renew commitment to care for abused, neglected children

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Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 3:07 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 2, 2022 at 8:09 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas law enforcement, advocacy groups and others, renewed their commitment to care for abused and neglected children.

The ‘Martin House’ child advocacy center in Longview held their ‘signing day’ with agencies from three counties in attendance.

Law enforcement , child protective agencies, mental health professionals and county prosecutors from Gregg, Marion and Harrison counties were on hand to pen their signatures to a commitment agreement.

“A re-commitment of collaboration to our partner agencies. Re-commitment on working collaboratively on child abuse cases. These agencies come together and sign our memorandum of understanding and working protocols,” says Martin House director Roxanne Stevenson.

“Having Martin House in our county and surrounding counties is awesome. It has trained experts that know how to interview children, then provide other services to those children,” says Longview police chief Anthony Boone.

It’s an important binding collaborative agreement which is renewed every 3 years.

“Before children’s advocacy centers were developed children were often bounced around to different agencies, but children were being further traumatized by the process,” Stevenson says.

For the partners in attendance, they can-not stress how important the work is that Martin House does.

“Anytime we can take a child and make that child more comfortable, we don’t want a child to re-live these incidents. It’s critical for us to work with professionals,” says Marshall police chief Cliff Carrouth.

“We can not build a strong advocacy when we are not strong as well. When we are not tight-nit, when we have no building, often times we fail our children,” says Deirdre Phillips with the Department of Family & Protective Services.

Not only for the well being of the children, but bringing their abusers to justice.

“Gives the tools that law enforcement needs to develop a suspect and bring that suspect to justice,” chief Boone says.

“We focus on the children’s needs, and investigators focus on the case,” says Stevenson.

Martin House children’s advocacy center was established in 2009, with a mission to ensure that every child who is a victim of abuse has an opportunity to be heard and protected.

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