The Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center

The Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center provides healing and recovery to children who have been abused or witnessed a traumatic event since 1995. Last year we provided crisis counseling, and trauma response for 600 children and family members. We serve children in Lexington County and in the greater Midlands.

Children are back in school and most are excited as they get to see friends they may not have seen since the summer began, make new friends, meet new teachers and perhaps enter entirely new schools. This adjustment period may bring uncertainty, insecurity, irritably and change in customary behavior. Most of these emotions pass fairly quickly but for some they do not pass and perhaps worsen. As parents we observe changes, monitor for an appropriate time for adjustment and take action if the behaviors and emotions go beyond routine.

Helpful tips for parents are to encourage gentle discussion with their child to discover what is on their minds or why they are not communicating as much. Have these discussions during “relaxed family” time. No cell phones, no laptops, no computers. Let the child know you are paying attention to them with good eye contact and smiles. The best family time is when the TV is off, and you are playing a game, going on a walk or doing a chore together. This is when what is on the child’s mind about their feelings may come out more naturally.

If the child has experienced abuse, witnessed violence or some other traumatic event, this is when the Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center can help with crisis counseling and trauma response. If a crime is suspected, further action will be needed for a referral from Law Enforcement or Child Protective Services. Most importantly we are helping a hurting child heal.

Good tips for engaging with your child:
• Enjoy relaxed time, no cells, no computers, no TV
• Get out in nature and let the child tell you about his/her day
• Help the child do a chore –fold clothes together as you are both sitting and can easily look at one another
• Do a craft project together, let the child do the most, parent just be there.
• Play outside together, something the child enjoys.
• When preparing meals, invite your child to be with you sitting at your kitchen counter, perhaps doing homework or ask the child to help with something easy and safe to do in the prep work.
• Have an activity that shares your faith and involves the child in understanding your faith.
• Read a book together. Let the child show his/her reading success

These will bring your child closer to you and open up to you about what is occurring in their life while also discovering what is important to the child. Parents then have the responsibility to help share values, guide and help the child learn good decision making and good behaviors.

With this, the child can gain confidence to tell you something that may be bothering them and it will bring you closer together.

“What makes the Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center so very special is we start with a hurting child and heal them through proven methods of counseling and trauma response”, said Carol Yarborough, Executive Director. Please visit our website to give a gift today to help children and caregivers of all ages heal at dickersoncac.org. Healing starts with a smile, a kind word, a heart to listen, and a willingness to walk the extra mile. We are all blessed by God with gift and letting us at the Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center use those gifts to support abused children in Lexington County and the greater Midlands.

Dickerson Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC): A place where healing begins. DCAC is 501-c(3) not for profit agency since 1995, serving Lexington County and Greater Midlands. Assists with the investigation and treatment of child abuse. Please visit us at our website, www.dickersoncac.org