When bad things happen all we crave is comfort. This is particularly true for the children that rely on the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Oswego County. The CAC of Oswego County works with children who are the victims of abuse and have experienced trauma, so they unfortunately can’t count on the traditional forms of comfort. These children have already been through a lot and are expected to go through a lot more before they are able to move on.
Every state and almost all counties in the United States have a CAC, but the CAC of Oswego County has started using Yogibos to make their jobs a little easier. They have their own space and a dedicated team which they are able to utilize to put the child in the most comfortable environment possible. Children are referred to the CAC by police or Child Protective Services through reports of alleged abuse. The CAC then work with the child and all parties on counseling, advocacy, medical/mental help and other needed services. Oswego County CAC is the busiest in New York, serving 435 new children in 2014 in addition to ongoing cases. Despite this, they are optimistic that this statistic shows that cases are being reported that previously weren’t.
When a child is part of an alleged abuse case they are expected to go through a host of interviews in places they are not familiar with. The police station and hospital are scary for adults, let alone children who have already been through a traumatic experience. The Oswego County CAC has tried to create a one-stop location. They prefer for interviews to be held on site where they can give the child the most support and have the most productive interviews. And Yogibos have been a huge help! Their original interview room felt more like an interrogation room, which isn’t the best way to get a child to open up. Using a donation from the Oswego County Dental Society, the organization changed their interview room into an intimate seating area using Yogibo bean bag chairs and pillows, creating a much friendlier environment for the child. Melanie Proper, a Mental Health Counselor from the Oswego County CAC, said about the Yogibo interview room “This makes it more comfortable, inviting and homelike so there’s a big benefit as soon as they walk in. We have a roll, so when a child starts to feel triggered from their story, that helps them feel safer.” With only Yogibos and steps, the room is geared to get parents, counselors and interviewers closer to the child’s level, making the child feel more empowered and on an equal level with the adults in the room.
The renovated interview room is not only important for the child but it helps investigators too. When a child is at ease they are more likely to answer honestly and not recant their story. They feel this room plays an important role with the child because many times they are part of a multi-generational problem and the more comfortable they are, the more likely to keep their stories correct and break the cycle. And it’s been a great asset as other clients ask to use the room on their visits as they find it easier to talk in the comfort of Yogibo. Proper said “We never know who’s going to walk through the door, and many of our clients have special needs. These products provide tactile feedback that calms them.” Yogibo is just a bean bag company but with the help of some great minds we have become more to so many. We are proud to be able to help in any small way. Keep up the amazing work Oswego County CAC.