CULLMAN, Ala. – Brooks’ Place is the Child Advocacy Center of Cullman, which provides children who are victims of crime or abuse an outlet to bring justice and security during extremely difficult circumstances. It’s been deemed as a safe haven for those in need.
Brooks’ Place assists victims and their families through interviews, interventions and advocacy — all while working with major entities in Cullman such as DHR, the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, Cullman and Hanceville Police Departments.
Brooks’ Place Director Gail Swafford said the center offers services to the entire family of victims at no cost.
“Many families simply could not afford the counseling needed without our services,” Swafford said. “Our goal is to assist in the healing process so that the child can deal with the trauma now. Without intervention, studies show that the child victim will most likely deal with issues later in life. They will have more health problems, mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, struggle in school resulting in maybe not completing high school, potential drug and alcohol use and financial impact.”
Swafford said that one service the center offers are medical exams for victims.
“Without the medical exams, children may have undetected STI’s or health issues,” Swafford said. “Studies show that without intervention victims are less likely to own a home, maintain employment, etc.”
In addition, Brooks’ Place serves as an interagency coordinated response center.
“We work very closely with community partners such as DHR, law enforcement, mental health, district attorney’s office, medical professionals and juvenile probation so that the knowledge, experience and expertise of each partner results in a coordinated, comprehensive, compassionate, professional response to reports of abuse,” Swafford said. “Not only does the family receive the support they need to recover from abuse, but community safety is also addressed.”
The therapists used by the center are specifically trained to provide trauma-focused therapy. This assists the child in learning coping strategies.
“These types of therapists also involve the parents so they can help their child recover from the trauma and assist them in dealing with their own issues related to their child’s victimization,” Swafford said.
Swafford said that she absolutely believes their services impact child victims and their families.
“Because of our work, families can heal from the horrific impact of abuse,” Swafford said. “Parents are able to get counseling for themselves which ultimately strengthens the family unit. It also means that services assist the community economically. Parents continue to maintain employment; job productivity is better which ultimately means their standard of living is maintained or improved.”
Their hours of operation are Monday- Friday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., and their office phone number is: 256-739-2243.
If you suspect someone is the victim of crime, abuse or neglect, please contact your local police department or a DHR location.
Brook’s Place is located at 1003 4th Avenue NE in Cullman. For more information, please visit their website at: http://www.caccullman.org.
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