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Government and People
GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF
|OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS||441 FOURTH STREET, N.W.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20001
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY; MARCH 7, 2001
|CONTACT: GERMONIQUE JONES
(Washington, D.C.) Mayor Anthony A. Williams was joined today by Congressman Tom Delay, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congressman Bud Cramer and members of the D.C. Council, as the Mayor and representatives of the agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that ensures all agencies will work cooperatively and commits to operating in a manner that is supportive of children.
"Our children who have been traumatized by abuse should not be traumatized again and again during the investigation and prosecution process," said Mayor Williams. "With today's signing, we're fulfilling a commitment I made to our young people last fall."
I'm here this morning to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mayor Williams as he starts the hard work of making children's health and safety the paramount concern of the District's foster care system. Today, the present structure the District offers to protect children in need is, at best, troubled and in too many cases deadly," said Congressman Delay.
This MOU reflects a strengthened and renewed commitment in the District of Columbia to protecting children and effectively investigating and prosecuting child abuse cases. It reaffirms and updates the investigation protocol and the principles set forth in an Interagency Agreement developed in 1995. The updated protocol expands the number of participating agencies and reflects the organizational changes that have occurred in the agencies since the agreement was originally crafted.
The MOU lays out the protocols for:
Carolyn Graham, Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth and Families, said that the city is planning to develop a state-of-the-art children's assessment center. Currently, the District works with the Safe Shores Children's Advocacy Center, which houses a child friendly environment for special forensic interviews for children who have been sexually abused. In 2000, Safe Shores provided special forensic interviews for 365 children. Building on the work with Safe Shores, the new center will house Safe Shores and co-locate city social workers, police, physicians, counselors and attorneys that are involved in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse.
"This is a moment in time, when the red tape has been cut to enable child welfare stakeholders to combine energies to create and establish one of the most innovative prototypes, ensuring the well being of all children," said Sondra Jackson, Interim General Receiver of the Child & Family Services Agency.
To report child abuse and neglect, call 671-SAFE.
|For Immediate Release
March 7, 2001
|Contact: Emily Miller
Phone: (202) 225-0197
Washington, DC: House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-TX) joined District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams at a joint press conference today to sign a Memo of Understanding (M.O.U) that will express their strategic plan to reform the District's system that handles abused and neglected children. The M.O.U. lays out plans for integrating the work of all the agencies involved in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect, including: the child and family services agency, the police, children's hospital, office of corporation counsel and the U.S. attorney's office.
Congressman DeLay's statement follows:
"I'm here this morning to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mayor Anthony Williams as he starts the hard work of making children's health and safety the paramount concern of the District's foster care system. Today, the present structure the District offers to protect children in need is, at best, troubled and in too many cases deadly.
"I want to commend Mayor Williams for making the necessary changes and improvements the District desperately needs. Of course, these are only the first steps, on what everyone agrees will be, a long and difficult transition to a new system that puts aside destructive turf battles and instead focuses the combined attention of the city's support network on children who've been abused. What this M.O.U. effectively does is create a rapid response team for sexually abused children.
"It's certainly time that the network of responding agencies empowered by the District to protect at-risk children begins placing abused children at the center of their activities. I'm very pleased to support Mayor Williams as he takes the lead and forces the changes that are needed to put children first. Mr. Mayor, let me just say that I'm here to give you any help I can.
"We hope that this M.O.U. will finally get all of the oars pulling to the same beat in the District's child protection system. We want to avoid re-traumatizing sexually abused children by streamlining the necessary functions by which the city responds to allegations of abuse. Mr. Mayor, if we can do that, we'll truly be treating the District's abused children with the compassion that they deserve."
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