Posted in: Notes from Mary
Date: May 6, 2019
When seven-year-old Evan* went to school with his second black-eye in two months, school officials alerted ChildLine and an investigation began. Police discovered that Evan had previous fractures to his nose and ribs. The Court appointed an MCAP advocate to protect Evan from harm and ensure his safety.
The MCAP advocate was with Evan through every step of the investigation process and attended all court hearings with him. Over the course of the investigation, it was learned that Evan was abused by his father for wetting his pants, talking back, or failing to clean up his toys. He was punched, kicked, and physically restrained by his father while his mother remained silent.
The MCAP worked with the Office of Children and Youth (OCY) to find a safe home with a relative. Today, Evan is in counseling to help him heal from his trauma, but he also enjoys things every kid should get to enjoy, like playing baseball with his friends. And he loves his new family and home.
Having just concluded National Child Abuse Prevention Month last week, I think of kids like Evan. Over the course of the month, we held and participated in many events to help build awareness of stories like Evan’s. Stories like his are why more than 100 members of our Montgomery County community stood in solidarity against child abuse on a cold, rainy day at our first annual MCAP Wear Blue on the Steps event. Directly after Wear Blue at our annual Appreciation Lunch, we showed our gratitude for all of the MCAPs and stakeholders who have helped kids like Evan. We trained new MCAP advocates at a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) and recruited new ones at a happy hour event so we can keep providing critical support for more child victims. We also lifted the voices of child abuse survivors at community events and shared valuable information on child abuse detection and prevention at presentations and online. Through all of the month’s events and activities, I have kept the story of Evan and child victims like him in mind – and in my heart.
Since 2019 began, MCAP has provided free legal services to 177 children in 127 cases. While these numbers are staggering, they are not nearly as upsetting as the stories they represent. Each number represents a child who has suffered abuse in one or more of its ugly forms – physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, trafficking. Each number represents a child who was afraid and traumatized. Each number represents a child who needed help. And, thankfully, each number represents a child who received that help and is now on their way to a brighter future.
While National Child Abuse Prevention Month is behind us, the work continues at MCAP. All year long and every single day we are helping children like Evan through service, education, and advocacy. Thank you for being our partner in this life-saving work, whether as an MCAP advocate, a stakeholder, or a donor. We are so grateful.
*Not real name.