COMM_SuccessStory_Steve and Corrie-2.jpg

Vermont State Police, Det. Trooper Steven Gelder and K-9 Corrie

This is part of a series of articles focused on the area nonprofit community and the impact on our region.

The Child First Advocacy Center (CFAC) and its partnering agencies are among the frontline workers and first responders serving our community throughout the course of this pandemic. When a report of serious child abuse is made, our investigators step into action. These cases are critical, and when a child’s immediate safety is at risk, time is of the essence. Investigators must prioritize safety, conduct a forensic interview and complete a thorough investigation, all while balancing a heavy workload.

That was before COVID-19.

When COVID-19 entered the scene, it created more chaos in the child-protection world. We saw an immediate decline in reported cases. Children had little to no in-person access to the teachers, doctors and community members they trust with disclosures of abuse. Our agency and partners scrambled to reach these kids while navigating COVID-19 safety protocols. We created and continually refined our COVID-19 policies and guidelines while prioritizing child safety. Every “What-if” scenario had to be considered.

When responding to a child safety crisis during a pandemic, there are no shortcuts. There isn’t room for self-interest. Our doors stayed open, and our dedicated team of law enforcement and DCF Family Service workers put Rutland County kids before themselves, without hesitation.

While the repercussions from this pandemic will be an uphill climb for us all, the Child First Advocacy Center is proud of our team and partnering agencies for the continued work and service they provide.

Visit childfirstvermont.org to learn more about the Child First Advocacy Center and how it continues to serve Rutland County.

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