December 2, 2022

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Kent County started providing mental health services to survivors of child sexual abuse at a new satellite office on Thursday.

The new office is at Cherry Health’s Heart of the City Health Center.

The CAC receives around three to four new cases of sexual abuse each day, with more than 1,000 children suspected of being sexually abused brought in each year.

The center says there are more than 14,000 more children in Kent County whose abuse goes unreported each year.

Studies show one in ten children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

“It is our hope that through this partnership, we can help even more children and families find healing in the aftermath of sexual abuse. By partnering with Cherry Health, we’re able to provide another option for our clients to receive important therapy services at a location that may be more convenient and in which they already have a trusted medical home. Moreover, we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with Cherry Health’s pediatric team by providing training on even more trauma-informed approaches to medical care,” said Melissa Werkman, CAC’s president and CEO.

The CAC will provide an in-house ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Master Training for all Cherry Health’s pediatric providers to help increase and ensure trauma-informed care for not only victims of sexual assault, but all children who have experienced trauma.

“Healing happens in a safe, trusting and empowering environment. Through this partnership, our goal is to expand access, remove barriers and connect our patients to CAC’s services in a convenient location where they already receive healthcare services,” said Tasha Blackmon, Cherry Health’s president and CEO.

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