The Most Wonderful Place You Hope to Never Visit

By: Rachel Ippel-Redman

In the Fall of 2020, my family learned that we were part of a community no one wants to join: abuse survivors. In that time of devastation and feelings of helplessness, I began to look for a local outlet to offer support. CARE House of Oakland County is a Child Advocacy Center that provides services to survivors of child abuse with a vision to impact the safety of every child in Oakland County ( carehouse.org ). The network of child advocacy centers has been growing since the late 1970s, when a local judge was discouraged by how children were received into the system. He found that the children were frightened, intimidated, and were talked to by too many adults, resulting in difficulty pursuing charges against the perpetrators. Thus, the idea for child advocacy centers was born – and there are now more than 900 throughout the US

CARE House of Oakland County conducts approximately 20 interviews per week for children ages 2-18 as well as vulnerable adults. Any claim through CPS or law enforcement in Oakland County results in an interview by a trained professional and observed by the supporting CPS and law enforcement officers from behind two way glass. This interview can then be used in lieu of the child needing to be present in court. The claims can be physical or sexual abuse or even witness to a violent crime. My fun volunteer job is as a ‘child assist’: we play games (a lot of UNO and Jenga) with the child before and after their interview, keeping it light and fun as well as supervising when the parent or guardian is working with the team. Being able to offer support to these families has offered a measure of healing for my own pain, a greater understanding of our system and enormous gratitude to those who do this amazing work. 

CARE House also offers therapy services for all children who come through intervention services. There are also many other programs: CASA of Oakland County, Healthy Families of Oakland and Family Resilience Program, Nurturing Oakland Parents, Prevention Training, Canine Advocacy Programs, Mandated Reporter Training, and Training for Schools and Youth Serving Organizations. 

For our June IOTM, we partnered with CARE house to donate needed supplies. The donations of diapers, wipes and small denomination gas cards benefit those who participate in the family programs and those who use the therapy services. Thank you for your support of this organization! If you would like to learn more, I am always available to share resources and information about CARE.

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