BUTTE – For 20 years, the Child Evaluation Center in Butte has been helping children who’ve endured unimaginable abuse.
“We’re really just here to facilitate the process to make it as least traumatizing as possible,” said Molly Molloy the director of behavioral health.
The CEC celebrated being the first licensed center in Montana to take this delicate approaching to interview and examine children who’ve suffered physical or sexual abuse.
“We thought it was a great opportunity to honor the founding members, many of whom are still active today in our Child Evaluations Center endeavors,” said Molloy.
In that time, this program has worked with about 2,000 children in Southwest Montana.
“In the past couple year’s we’ve seen a bit of growth in the number of interviews, but I’m not sure if that’s directly related to the amount of abuse that’s occurring or if it’s people reporting because there’s such a great team response and we’ve done a lot of community education,” said Molloy.
I’m here in a special room where they interview the child by one of the staff members and meanwhile law enforcement and other officials and observe the interview through this one-way mirror. The point is they don’t want a child to relive a traumatic situation over and over again.
“If you think about the trauma a child goes through in an abuse situations and then they’re handed over to a social worker, to law enforcement, to a medical clinician and more follow up, that’s a lot of trauma that comes in every time,” said Bryan Lockerby with the Montana Department of Justice.
It’s tough but rewarding work.
“I know that what we do is important and I know that what we do makes a difference and I will say that even if we changed the outcome for one child, it’s worth it,” said Molloy.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News