Words of Wisdom from Karen Hangartner of the Huntsville CAC

We have had the immense privilege of working with several Child Advocacy Centres (CACs)  in Canada and the US over the past several years. CACs were created to be as the main point of contact for a child and their family who have experienced child abuse and trauma. The aim of the CACs since their inception has been to reduce the negative and potentially retraumatizing impact on children who have to attend numerous different sites and professionals in order for them to offer their testimony and receive the care and treatment they need and deserve. The National CAC in Huntsville, Alabama is one of the leading organizations providing education, treatment and consulting to agencies who work with children who have experienced trauma across the nation. Last week, our dear colleague Karen Hangartner of the Huntsville CAC wrote a powerful piece on managing our own wellness while dealing with our difficult and challenging political landscape.

It has been a tough couple of weeks for our country and for those of us who work with child trauma daily. My immediate, innate response has been to immerse myself in the media coverage of what has been happening on our borders. Watching newscasts has been the first thing I have done in the mornings and the last thing I do before bed. I have been angry, despondent, sad, and have felt powerless to help these children. I assume that my responses are not that much different than most CAC professionals across our country. While many Americans have also been saddened and outraged by the family separation policy, I believe child abuse professionals, in particular, are at an increased risk of being more negatively impacted. We know how wrenching it is for a child to be removed from their family. We know what child trauma looks like. We know the long-term impacts. We did not have to wait to see the images that were finally released to the public to visualize what these kids have been going through. We already had those images in our heads. While the faces might be different, make no mistake, we are all too familiar with the anguish on the faces of children who are experiencing trauma.

Read the rest of the article:

Link to Article : Secondary Trauma and Family Separation


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