For more than 20 years, the organization has provided free comprehensive assessment services and therapy for child victims of abuse and their families.
By Carl Pettit
The New York Center for Children is an example of caring and protecting children at risk.
As a society, we must continue to remind ourselves that in times of crisis, children are always the most vulnerable amongst us. That’s why the existence of the New York Center for Children (NYCC) is such a positive example of what caring for, and protecting children at risk does for a community as a whole.
The Center—open for more than 20 years—offers free, “comprehensive evaluation and therapy services to victims of child abuse and their families”. They also feature a variety of training programs to help identify and prevent child abuse in the first place. And since NYCC (associated with the Mount Sinai Medical Center) is a nonprofit organization, donations are the lifeblood that keeps this noble enterprise alive.
Part of the appeal of the Center is the staff’s honest attention to detail. When kids arrive on the premises, they come carrying pain and going through some traumatic situation. The youngsters are immediately welcomed by qualified staff, and brought into a warm, friendly environment made even brighter by the vibrant murals on the walls, and a toy-laden playroom.
In addition to the comforting, therapeutic and child-friendly setting, trained social workers, medical experts and psychologists are on hand to deal with the immediate trauma and the long aftermath of abuse. Therapy comes in many forms, from individual counseling to larger groups sessions. And one of the most beautiful things about the privately funded New York Center for Children (previously known as the Children’s Advocacy Center of Manhattan) is that no child is turned away because of a lack of insurance, or the inability (of the guardians) to pay.
From thorough evaluations performed by experienced social workers working closely with other institutions (legal and law enforcement) to prevent further unnecessary trauma, to medical exams carried out by an on-site pediatrician, the moment a child steps into the world of the NYCC, safeguarding that child’s physical and mental wellbeing are of paramount concern. Crisis intervention and counseling are offered on a continual basis, as are workshops for identifying abuse, plus ongoing consultations for victims, families of victims and the different professionals all trying to help.
The New York Center for Children sticks with its children through thick and thin, over the weeks, months and years it takes to recover. It’s an exemplary organization doing good in the community. Helping a child escape and recover from abuse truly is a beautiful thing. ■
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