“To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism.”
Submitted by Name: deleted post
Comments: Just Wondering-your post was deleted for pretending false information was a fact.
Added: August 31, 2015 10:23:54 PM
Submitted by Name: Tami RN p2 From: @just wondering
Comments: part 2: There are many approaches that improve prosecution rates without “processing” a child & abandoning them afterwards in order to maintain “neutrality”. The point of forensic investigation is to gather data for the purpose of prosecution not to act as a therapist. In fact it is unethical for a forensic investigator to cross that line. Children aren’t chicken nuggets & Mr. Lewis & his co-board members aren’t in the child mental health/healing business. The fact is CAC’s board is basically law enforcement/judicial with 4 prosecutors, 1 state police detective and 2 department of child services employees and has no mental health, child abuse counselors or even a survivor or victim family member as an advisor clearly demonstrates their priorities. I agree that the “old way” wasn’t very good. I disagree that just because the CAC isn’t barbaric that that in some way means it’s good.
To clear up: I favor strong programs that gather evidence in a therapeutic, healing manner that puts the child’s recovery as the top priority rather than compensating for weak or absent law enforcement or prosecutorial investigative efforts. Children should not be “processed”; they should be protected. Furthermore, I favor funding EFFECTIVE programs; abused children should not be used as experimental subjects to test new ideas to improve prosecution rates especially when there is no valid measurement of the program or for some unknown reason a non-diverse board is unable or unwilling to discuss actual existing data. Finally, your opinion is interesting to me in that it appears to have a hostile tone. But assuming I’m overly sensitive or had a bad day, I will address your questions about economic development in a separate post. The information about abused children deserves to stand alone & not be used as a political football or to attack another’s opinion.
Added: August 31, 2015 09:20:38 PM
Submitted by Name: Tami RN p1 From: for wondering
Comments: Just Wondering- thanks for asking about data collection options for Mr. Lewis’s program to improve prosecution rates for child abusers. Tracking impact on prosecution has nothing to do with victims/families. Mr. Lewis & his board know this. In fact the data is already available but either hasn’t been processed or the findings not released. One need only take the total number of cases before the program began – over a specific time (for example 12 months) and the total number of cases prosecuted or disposed of via plea agreement. Then calculate the percentage of “successful prosecutions” over total prosecutions for abuse cases. The number gives you an easy to understand picture of pre-program percentage of success. Then do the same after the program was put in place. Use the exact same numbers- total number of cases & total number of “successful prosecutions” for each year the program has been in place. If the numbers don’t vary much it should be obvious there is little to no correlation between having a program & improving prosecution rates. However there are other statistical calculations that can determine whether or not there is a SIGNIFICANT improvement or NEGATIVE impact. Considering this is public information & very simple to calculate, I was oddly surprised Mr. Lewis said there was no program in place to track success or failure in Jefferson County. Perhaps the lack of disclosure conveys the answer.
Even the very best qualified forensic interviewers will tell you that children struggle with these “conversations”. Although children end up in a CAC “home type” room, they are still interviewed essentially by a stranger; CAC has several degreed persons but with limited specialized counseling education & experience. Generalist such as kindergarten teachers or child social workers are not best practice qualified in abuse cases, especially sexual abuse cases. Still, the question isn’t whether children should be “processed the old way” as you described it. The question is should children be “processed”; after all they aren’t chicken nuggets.
Added: August 31, 2015 09:17:26 PM
Submitted by Name: Wonderlust
Comments: Just wondering/Tami/Warren. Why doesn't Lewis take it out of his own budget instead of asking the commissioners to carry the load?
Added: August 31, 2015 04:35:23 PM
Submitted by Name: Just wondering From: Madison
Comments: Tami RN,
how would one go about keeping numbers on these cases. I think it would be hard to do. Do you want them to ask these victims did you like being interviewed at the CAC? Then does the same child victim need to be victimized again and have them be processed the old way and have them compare their experiences? It is my understanding the CAC provides a forensic based interview with trained professional interviewers for children in * * * and abuse cases. They do not provide counseling services. However DCS does provide those counseling services for the children and their families. The CAC, DCS, and Law Enforcement work together to provide a better service to these victims and provide a better service in brining the suspects to justice. I think we should provide funding for the CAC and there are many other areas were the funds could be cut from such as our non existent Economic Development. Tami can you give us an update on how the counties ne Economic Development plans are going? How many jobs have they brought us. Please we all want numbers!!!
Added: August 31, 2015 03:24:50 PM
Submitted by Name: Tami RN From: p2
Comments: Mr. Warren: There were other very important questions including some about the board make-up, staff & procedures for interviews. Perhaps others will post. But if you support a program that “stays neutral” and doesn’t help children & families and instead a select few hope the program helps the prosecutor rack up a few wins but the same people have no intention of putting a system in place to evaluate the program’s prosecutorial success… then imagine your children going through this:
The person who abused your children has finally been arrested & charged after years of you trying to get something done. Most likely this person is a violent male & has been abusing your children for several years or more despite your best efforts to work with law enforcement & the prosecutor; he probably violated a restraining order & continued to abuse your children. But now that the prosecutor’s office feels they “have a case” they want your children to participate in a program at the Child Advocacy Center. At first you are excited because your health insurance doesn’t cover mental health. But when you ask if the center will provide a free therapist they tell you, “NO- they can’t provide professional support for your kids because they can’t ‘take a side’ against the accused & providing the counseling your kids need to heal would be biased & unethical. They explain they are in the judicial system not mental health or child advocacy profession despite the name of the center. It’s probably at this point you wonder why you are there then since apparently you have to find a way to help your kids all on your own.
So you ask, “Why should I bring my kids here then, what happens if I bring them in?” The advocate (unless new) is not a child psychologist, nurse specialist, social worker or even a medical doctor but she managed a YMCA and has some support classes & workshops under her belt; she’ll greet you and off the kids go to a “special room”. She will “help” your children relive what you’ve been trying to help them heal & forget. While she’s a nice person, it’s her job to get the nitty gritty nasty details to help the prosecutor win the case. What she won’t tell you is that winning means trying to get enough really- really bad info to motivate the abuser to take a plea agreement instead of risking a much more severe sentence at trial. She’s going to dig deep & all around your children's pain. It took the prosecutors forever to charge the abuser & they want a win on this case. (not that anyone is counting because they aren't)
So the “advocate” who your children have had little to no prior contact with because she needs to stay “neutral”- will sit with your child to reopen wounds as deep & as wide as needed to get all of the most horrific information possible. Your children will recall, relive & reconstruct details which help the prosecutor “cut a deal.” When as much of your children’s wounds have been opened as possible & the prosecutor’s office believes it has enough to cut a deal-- the advocate is done with your kids; they no longer have any value or purpose to the office. At this time your children will be returned to you. There will be no offer of follow-up counseling, no free family therapy, not even support over the next few days as you & your children try to once again to close wounds that the prosecutor’s “advocate” cut open and rooted around in as if searching for lost treasure.
If this were a teacher aide, a well intended neighbor or other non-credentialed but well meaning person reopening wounds just to see what they could get your kids to say, how would you feel? What if they had no regard for your children's short term coping and long term healing, how would you feel? What if they said they put your children through their interrogation to help get the abuser assigned to 5 years probation? Do you think you would feel better if they called it an advocacy center because that sounds kinder and more professional than special interrogation room?
Added: August 31, 2015 03:21:02 PM
Submitted by Name: Tami RN From: part 1
Comments: @ Mr. William Warren-I was present when Mr. Lewis & coworker presented at the commissioners meeting; they spoke at length as to how their program helped children. As a nurse therapist that at one time specialized in treating abusive perpetrators (physical & sexual) and their families I was anxious to hear about the program. Mr. Lewis repeatedly stated the program helped abused children; over & over again, he emphasized that the program had been in place for several years, that it was highly effective & that Jefferson County wasn’t paying its fair share since this is a regional program.
After his presentation several citizens had questions. I asked Mr. Lewis if he had “numbers” to support his claim that the program was very effective. Certainly our county can’t afford to pay for ineffective programs no matter how good the idea sounds & Mr. Lewis admitted he did not have numbers; he even admitted he even wasn’t keeping records or tracking effectiveness. I thanked him for his honesty because I’m sure it was uncomfortable admitting those facts especially since he had just spoken at length as to how effective the program was. But the truth is Mr. Lewis has no idea if the program is good, bad, works or makes thing worse. So the funding should not be approved on the basis the program is working. No one knows; no one is even trying to find out.
My next question was, “How does this help abused children, are you providing counseling, support after the meeting, safe havens or what exactly benefits children directly?” His colleague answered, “NO WE DON’T DO ANY OF THAT WE HAVE TO STAY TOTALLY NEUTRAL.” I was totally shocked because of course the root of Mr. Lewis’s proposal was that the program was not only effective but also directly helped children. But the truth is the program isn’t designed to help children at all. It’s designed to improve Mr. Lewis’s successful prosecutions record. It has nothing at all to do with helping the child. So funding should not be approved on the basis the program is for children; it’s a program that benefits the prosecutor’s office, not kids. One could argue that to convict the perpetrator is good for the child but in the real world, convictions are best for the prosecutor; HEALING IS BEST FOR THE CHILD.
Added: August 31, 2015 02:19:31 PM
Submitted by Name: Nottta Jan Fan From: Madison,in
Comments: Change, you truly believe Jan V will represent everyone in the Community? If you live on the Hill you ain't gettin nothin fron Jan. If your downtown Homeowner. Look out she's coming for you if you have vinyl windows. If your not a member of the wine and cheese crowd. Good luck to ya if you need anything. This lady is going to be the most selective Mayor in the history of Madison. Regarding who she helps and who she doesn't. We have not even talked about the total lack of vision for the future this Democrat has for Madison. The only idea she can come up with is we need more movie productions to come to town. We need to figure out how to generate jobs using the River. Be careful what you wish for regarding Jan V.
Added: August 31, 2015 02:05:27 PM
Submitted by Name: Questions
Comments: Is the Lewis program the one for 100 grand and is it the same one he pitched at the start of the year ? If I'm thinking right the so called child specialist is really an ex director at the Switzerland County YMCA. I don't think Lewis is wanting money for kids he wants it for his own office and not take it out of his budget . The commissioner and council are being lied to if Lewis is saying its for any other reason.
Added: August 31, 2015 01:40:48 PM
Submitted by Name: Chad skrewus
Comments: William Warren you must be thinking a different program than I know about. Lewis's program doesn't help kids it helps improve his conviction rate and employ a pal from Switzerland County.