Supes approve Child Advocacy Center continuation

The Lassen County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution continuing the Mikailia Child Advocacy Center with funding available through the state and administered by the California Office of Emergency Services, and they offered words of affirmation on the success of the program.

Krystle Hollandsworth, Multi-Disciplinary Interview Team Coordinator, noted the center is applying for its third year of grant funding.

“Our goal is to continue to develop a child-friendly facility with the purpose to provide child victims and their families a safe, non-threatening place to convey what happened to them during investigations of child and sexual abuse. And, in the end, giving them a safe environment to hopefully lessen their life-long impacts of being a victim of child abuse,” said Hollandswoth.

The item before the board during the Tuesday, Jan. 21 supervisors meeting posed the adoption of a resolution authorizing the execution of the resolution approving the Undertaking of the Lassen County District Attorney’s Child Advocacy Center program.

The cost of the Child Advocacy Center will be reimbursed to Lassen County through the grant administered by the Cal OES, Criminal Justice and Emergency Management and Public Safety Grant Programs Division, according to the staff report.

The center’s allocation to the county for April through March 2021 is $176,803. The District Attorney’s Office manages the Multi-Disciplinary Interview Team Coordinator position.

Supervisor Aaron Albaugh requested this item be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion to commend the facility.

“It is a very well set up and organized operation,” he said. “I just wanted to compliment Krystle on the hard work you’ve done on this and the good job you’ve done. It is a good program and an important value to our county, and I just wanted to give them kudos for the good job they’ve done.”

Supervisor Chris Gallagher also commended the center.

“These programs are extremely valuable in these investigations,” he said. “I think it’s really important.”

The Mikailia Child Advocacy Center functions as a collaborative, multidisciplinary team in partnership with various community agencies to support and assist children and developmentally disabled adults by reducing the amount of trauma to victims and families, while supporting effective investigations and prosecutions throughout the criminal justice system, according to the county website.

“We are a community-based multidisciplinary interview team that responds to child abuse through a trauma-informed, research-based approach. At the Mikailia Child Advocacy Center, we  strive to reduce the number of interviews a child has to endure. At the (center), the child tells a trained forensic interviewer what happened to them in a child-friendly environment. Then, the (team) makes a decision together regarding how to best help the child based on the interview and the trauma that child has suffered,” the website continued.

The team partners consist of the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office, Lassen County Victim Witness, Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, Lassen County Behavioral Health, Lassen County Child and Family Services, Lassen Family Services, Susanville Police Department and Banner Lassen Hospital.