Child Advocacy Center program brings awareness to child abuse

Published 9:15 am Saturday, April 30, 2022

As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, a special program sponsored by the Covington County Child Advocacy Center was held on the grounds of Springdale Tuesday.

Mindy Barton, director of the Child Advocacy Center, organized the event and District Attorney Walt Merrell was the speaker.

Merrell recognized local law enforcement, social workers and others in attendance for their efforts in handling abuse cases as well as their partnership with the CAC.

In 2021, there were 580 child abuse cases reported in Covington County.

“This is a team effort. No one person can do it alone. Child abuse does not exist in a bubble. Some of us feel like (abuse) is something that will not happen in our neighborhood, but in fact it does. It happens far more than we want to believe,” Merrell said. “Abuse is happening somewhere, to some child, right now.”

A representation of people involved in local abuse cases took the stage, taking turns briefly describing anonymous details about abuse cases investigated and confirmed in Covington County. Those cases included physical and sexual abuse, a child born addicted to methamphetamine, a child left in a vehicle overnight, child exploitation, a child burned with an iron, among others.

Students from Covington County Schools participated in the program, singing “Love Can Build a Bridge.”

Barton also acknowledged the team effort involved in helping those who become victims of abuse.

“We have a heroic team who are fighting for the most vulnerable in our community. Restoring hope and helping them to focus on what really matters — being a kid. These children cannot fight for themselves. We have to fight for them. Everyone should be a protector and voice for our children,” Barton said.

The CAC’s role in abuse cases include conducting forensic interviews, arranges specialized medical care, and provides counseling and advocacy through the courts process.

“We cannot do this work alone,” Barton said. “Together we can help protect and rebuild the lives (of child abuse victim).”

For more information about the Covington County Children Advocacy Center and how to become involved, visit