Importance of continued education and prevention

Roseville, Calif. – As we continue Child Abuse Prevention Month, Placer MDIC, Placer County’s Child Advocacy Center, announced their 2023 report data. This data shows that forensic interviews of children have increased significantly since 2013.

These increases can be traced to a variety of issues – and certainly ties into the population growth in Placer County. Additionally, these increases correspond to awareness by our law enforcement and child welfare partners about best practice and the necessity for trauma informed interviews of children.

“Placer County has truly led the way on collaboration and innovation for supporting our most vulnerable, and most important citizens – children. Our children represent our future, and Placer County has consistently set the standard for how to respond to allegations of child maltreatment”, said MDIC Coordinator, Jessica Waterford.

Victim ages

2023 data showed that the victims’ primary ages were between the ages of 7 to 17 and 66% were female. Much of the alleged abuse occurred was by a person known to the child, over 62% – signifying the importance of outreach around prevention strategies, early detection, and mandated reporting to the safety of our children.

Placer MDIC also conducted 71 trainings in 2023, with 368 team members trained and 215 community partners trained on mandated reporting and how to recognize child abuse signs. Specifically, 165 law enforcement and 55 child welfare professionals. Training is critical to ensuring the safety of children through reporting standards, promoting interagency collaboration, and increasing community knowledge of the center.

Warning signs of abuse and neglect

Placer MDIC recommends family members talk to their children often about ways to stay safe, what to do if something has happened, and who to talk to. Warning signs of child abuse and neglect can vary depending on the type of abuse, but can include anti-social and aggressive behavior, substance abuse and risky behavior. Community members are encouraged to report any suspected abuse to Child Protective Services or local law enforcement.

“All of us can work together to protect our county’s kids,” continued Waterford. “While these numbers are daunting, they also tell us that people are coming forward more than ever before. It shows our county will not stand for the abuse of our children. If you see something, say something.”

Founded in 1993

Placer Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center was founded in 1993 through a collaborative initiative between the Placer County District Attorney’s Office and Placer County Health and Human Services, partnering law enforcement, child protective services, medical professionals, mental health and advocacy to establish a child-friendly forensic interview center for children who may have been abused or witnessed a crime.

Interviews are conducted by a trained Child Forensic Interview Specialist (CFIS) and each team member observes the interview in a separate observation area with the ability to communicate remotely to the interviewer. You can learn more about the center at www.placer.ca.gov/MDIC

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