Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center, the region’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families, continues to innovate and meet the demand for services amid the pandemic. Collaboration among key partners, internal innovation and the community’s generosity has allowed the nonprofit to grow the number of families helped during the pandemic to nearly 100 children on average per month.
“The pandemic has stressed everyone’s coping resources, and for children who have been abused and require therapy for their trauma symptoms, the impact is multiplied,” said Dr. Carole Swiecicki, Executive Director of Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. “Rather than leave these children to sit without treatment for their nightmares, fears, and sadness, our generous community stepped forward so that their therapy can continue and they move toward their recovery.”
Dee Norton immediately identified internal barriers when the pandemic began, such as how to deliver services virtually. The generosity of donors helped push the organization forward with new practices, allowing the staff to research, purchase and install additional technology, as well as complete a needs assessment of clients to resume virtual therapy.
“When the pandemic hit, Dee Norton shared with me the dilemma of how to continue to provide therapy when meeting in person was no longer an option,” said Bob Mason, founder of the
Bumper “T” Caring Clown program and a long-time supporter of Dee Norton. “It became evident that one barrier was the need to provide iPads and tablets for children and families so they could meet virtually. I saw a place where I could make an impact by providing funds to purchase the necessary equipment and security software.”
As an organization embedded in the community, Dee Norton is able to meet the demand through strong collaboration with key partners, such as Law Enforcement and the South Carolina Department of Social Services. Early in the pandemic, this multidisciplinary team established a triage system for forensic interviews to ensure the children at greatest risk are seen as soon as possible, an example of collaboration at its best.
While the nonprofit has continued to innovate, the need remains for ongoing community support to provide these critical services. To learn more about how you can help prevent child abuse, visit deenortoncenter.org.