Optimists learn about helping children

Ebonee Clark, from Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC), was the featured speaker at the January 6 meeting of the Optimist Club of St. Andrews-Irmo.

Clark is the Assistant Director for Advocacy at the Center in Lexington. 

DCAC serves children, aged from infancy to 18 years old, who have experienced some form of maltreatment. That maltreatment can come in the form of physical or sexual abuse; exposure—as in witnessing—violence; living in an environment where drug abuse is prevalent; or human trafficking. Those children come to the Center based on referrals by DSS or law enforcement. 

Children who are referred to DCAC are given a forensic interview where they describe in as much detail as possible the type of maltreatment involved.

Clark said children who are interviewed one-on-one are often less intimidated by the process than they would be in a situation that involves some type of panel interview. On occasion, a guardian ad litem or an attorney may also be present in the interview but only with a Court Order. 

There is also a forensic medical exam as part of the process. Those findings can serve as evidence used to prosecute episodes of maltreatment. They also serve to instill confidence in the victim and/or family that the child has the full backing of DCAC and law enforcement.

For clients aged from 3 to 18, DCAC enlists licensed clinicians to offer therapy services, tailored to the clients’ individual experiences.

Readers can learn more about DCAC online at www.dickersoncac.org, or may contact the Center by phone at 803-358-7200.

Pictured are Optimist Club President Larry Blosser and Ebonee Clark, who received a copy of the Optimist Creed.