Gas prices or other transportation problems prevented some Bell County child abuse victims from getting needed counseling. Now, child advocacy services are available in Middlesboro. The Salvation Army, Cornerstone Christian Counseling, and Ray of Hope are offering help.
Ray of Hope Victim Advocate Lindsay Bertrand says she sees many children in Bell County who suffered abuse or a traumatic event. She says the number of children needing help is increasing but not all of the children could get to her office in Pineville.
"A lot of times, the transportation issue kind of interferes with their ability to have regular counseling sessions and be able to participate on a regular basis," says Lindsay Bertrand.
The Salvation Army offered space in Middlesboro. Ray of Hope and Cornerstone Christian Counseling teamed up and now offer services in Middlesboro to children, parents, and other family members.
Bertrand says this small gesture will have a huge impact on children's recovery.
"With the abuse, a lot of times, kids are blaming themselves. "Did I do something wrong? Did I make a mistake?' and it's hard to understand those thoughts kids are having, and it's hard to understand how to communicate to them, it's not their fault in a way they can understand and accept that. It takes time to work through that," said Bertrand.
Directors say this location will also give them better access to the Middlesboro schools which could lead them to find more children who need help.
"I would be able to go to the school if they needed me, or if a teacher wanted to consult, in addition to being able to have more access to Middlesboro Police," said Bertrand.
Bertrand says the new office could even help save a child's life in the future.
The child advocacy center is located in the Salvation Army building on 18th Street in Middlesboro. Anyone seeking information can call 606-654-2155. Walk-ins are also allowed on Fridays.