Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Jan. 27, 2006

Child Abuse Victims Remembered at Christmas Time

Thanks to those who donated to the Toys for Tots campaign, the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Oswego County was able to provide Christmas gifts to every child in Oswego County that was a victim of sexual abuse or serious physical abuse during 2005. The donations of toys, books, and stuffed animals were given to families served by the Child Advocacy Center.

"Each year Toys for Tots provides us with toys for every child who has been here during the year. It's a nice way for us to remind the children that they are in our thoughts and that we realize that it's been a tough year for them," said Denise Perkins, Victim Services Coordinator at the CAC.

The CAC also assisted community groups who wished to adopt a family for the holidays. Caroline's Airport Diner and its patrons, and a community group who wishes to remain anonymous, both adopted families in need.

"It's important to remember that often when a father or step-father has been accused of abusing children within the household, the household suffers financially when that breadwinner is removed from the home. This increases the trauma felt by the family, especially during the holidays," said Olivia VanSanford, director of the Child Advocacy Center. "These families were provided with toys for each child in the household, as well as food items that allowed the family to make their own holiday dinner."

The CAC is a child-friendly agency that provides a safe place for children to be interviewed by law enforcement officers and children's social workers. The center works as part of a team with the Oswego County District Attorney's Office, local law enforcement agencies, child protective services, therapy providers, medical providers, and victim services agencies. The CAC also helps families with scheduling medical examinations, therapy, court preparation, and other needs.

For more information about the Child Advocacy Center or adopting a family in 2006, contact the center at 59 - CHILD.

Caroline Wegzyn, right, presents a donation to victims services coordinator Denise Perkins on behalf of Caroline's Airport Diner. The restaurant and its customers adopted a family at Christmas through the Child Advocacy Center.

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