Residents asked to knit or quilt to keep children warm
Monroe’s United Family Services needs the talents of those who knit, croquet or quilt—whether independently or as part of a hand-craft group—to provide warmth and comfort to scared children served by its Tree House Child Advocacy Center. Each child referred to The Tree House by social services and/or law enforcement is a suspected victim of sexual or physical abuse.
While The Tree House works to provide a child-friendly facility for child abuse professionals to medically examine and interview in its specially designed interview rooms, the blanket serves a much more practical purpose—to provide comfort to children as they use it to cover themselves during medical examinations and forensic interviews.
“Each child referred to The Tree House is given a hand-made blanket,” United Family Services South Region Director Pam Caskey explained. “Staff tell the children the blankets are theirs to keep, and were made by caring people in the community who want to help.”
The Tree House is the only collaborative effort of community partners involved in child sexual abuse cases in Union County, according to its brochure, and operates under the premise that no single child abuse professional or agency can solve the problem of child abuse alone. To minimize the trauma an abused child can suffer, The Tree House enhances the coordination between agencies and professionals involved, and the blankets go a long way toward providing some much-needed comfort and warmth during a very difficult time, Caskey says.
Child physical and sexual abuse referrals have increased dramatically over the last several months, Caskey said, and the blanket supply is dwindling.
“We’ve received two times as many requests in recent months, and we are desperately low,” she said. Donations of hand-made quilts, throws, small blankets, or small gift items for teens are welcome to their facility located at 604 Lancaster Avenue, Hwy 200 South in Monroe. Gift ideas for teens include items to journal with, small MP3 players and the like.
Serving children ages 0 to 18, The Tree House also offers individual, family and couples counseling, play therapy for younger children, and support groups for teens, adult survivors, and non-offending caregivers. In addition, they provide court advocacy, court education, and court accompaniment as part of their comprehensive case management. Lastly, The Tree House offers child abuse prevention and intervention training, education, and awareness, along with consumer credit counseling and parenting classes.
Go to www.unitedfamilyservices.org to learn more about United Family Services, or call Caskey at 704-226-1352 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.