It’s hard to accept that children as young as three are being sexually abused. But that is a reality the Community Child Abuse Council faces squarely every day. They provide proven treatment, education, and prevention programs to Hamilton’s abused children.
Timely treatment is transformative for children who suffer sexual abuse and the devastating effects of that betrayal of trust, says the Council’s executive director Karen Smith. “The good news is that when children receive prompt treatment from our professional clinicians, they do recover from this trauma and live healthy, productive lives. We know that. But the longer they wait for treatment, the worse their symptoms get.”
When the Council came to Hamilton Community Foundation and explained that referrals to their program were so high that children were waiting too long for treatment, we responded.
The Edith H. Turner Foundation Fund provided a grant. HCF also approached The Lillian and Marvin Goldblatt Family Fund, which has a similar focus on children and youth. Deeply moved by the situation of these youngsters, this fund too stepped forward with additional support.
Together these grants allowed the Council to cut the waiting list by 70 percent – saving many young children lifelong turmoil.
HCF fundholders Pioneer Energy Foundation and the Losani Family Foundation Fund also generously support the Council, and Karen says she is grateful to HCF for shining light on this issue. Some donors have even offered help to raise awareness about the need to have stable resources for these essential services.
“The bigger picture is this,” says Smith. “We can give kids their lives back when we’re able to treat them early – but if resources don’t allow that to happen, the future of our community suffers as much as these young people do. The long-term solutions to child abuse are a responsibility of the whole community. Support from HCF and its donors create a vital ripple effect. By facing the reality of child abuse, they help us open a community conversation about how thriving children are essential for thriving communities.”