Part 1 of Focus on First Witness: What happens when a child discloses abuse

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Child abuse is an ugly reality in our society. But First Witness Child Advocacy Center is here to help with hope and healing.

Since 1990, their staff have provided support to families during what can be a devastating and uncertain time in their lives.

Last year, they served nearly 230 children who reported sexual or physical abuse, or who witnessed a violent crime.

They also help train mandated reporters about what to do when a child shares something. Mandated reporters are required by law to report suspected maltreatment.

Ryan Prouty is a Family Advocate, Trainer, and Prevention Educator. “How you respond to a child can really set up how their healing journey goes. A lot of times, when a child discloses, that itself is pretty miraculous. A lot of children never disclose, or it takes them months or years to disclose.”

ISD 709, which is the Duluth school district, is proud to partner with First Witness. Their staff come in with the Safe and Strong programming, which teaches kids about safe and healthy behaviors and people in their lives.

Jacob Laurent, the Climate Coordinator for the district, said, “We continue to ask teachers and educators to do more and more. To have a partnership with First Witness, where they can come in and do what they specialize in. It can take it off teachers’ plates, which can be an uncomfortable topic. And they can make sure we are giving kids the right facts and tools.”

First Witness has launched their Restoring Hope Capital Campaign to help them with their new building. It will provide more space for them to do their important work.

To donate to the capital campaign: