About the Event
“Cowboys for Kids” is the only annual fundraising event for the Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center. Each year the Board of Directors works tirelessly to put on the twoday event that includes a Friday night Gala, a Children’s Stick Horse Rodeo on Saturday morning and a Ranch Rodeo for the whole family on Saturday night.
Before the Children’s Advocacy Center movement began, child victims of abuse were being further traumatized by the system set up to help them. Multiple agencies are involved in investigating allegations of child abuse. These include law enforcement, Child Protective Services, Cook Children’s Hospital Care Team, Juvenile Services and prosecutors who try the cases. As a result of the agencies working alone on individual cases, child victims were being interviewed multiple times about the most personal and tragic events of their lives. In addition, the agencies involved could unintentionally jeopardize each other’s cases with the multiple interviews and investigations. Today, Children’s Advocacy Centers across the nation provide a child friendly environment where all agencies involved in a case can come to the child victim. The child is interviewed once by a trained forensic interviewer. The interview is videotaped into an adjoining room where a representative of each agency involved is able to see, listen and communicate with the interviewer through a small ear piece. All agency partners work together as a team to coordinate the investigation and services provided for the child victim and his/her non-offending family members. The Children’s Advocacy Center provides the place for them to come together and facilitates future meetings in which they can share case information.
The Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center serves child victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse and child witnesses to homicides and other violent crimes. Our Articles of Incorporation were put into place in July, 1996, and our doors were opened for services to the first child victim in February, 1998. The Center’s mission is to provide a safe place where children can tell their story and begin to reclaim their lives. Many services are in place for children and their families after the initial interview is done. They include individual, family and group counseling by trained, experienced therapists; play therapy; work with therapy dogs; youth self-esteem and goal setting programs; personal advocacy and mentoring programs; court school; special education and abuse prevention programs and field trips. The Center strives to meet the needs of the whole family group because they are all affected by the trauma of abuse.
All proceeds from “Cowboys for Kids” go directly to providing services for victims of child abuse in Johnson County.