McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center unveils mobile response unit
Response teams with the McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center now have a mobile unit they can take to the scene of a crisis. Numerous officials were on hand Tuesday for a ribbon cutting for the gleaming white 30-foot motorcoach. Among them was Jarrett Woodfork, Chief Assistant District Attorney with the Special Victims Bureau. He says the mobile unit is another tool to address child abuse or violence in the community.
"So, if there are witnesses or children who need to be interviewed that can't make it to the child advocacy center for whatever reason, whether it's transportation or fear of leaving their home, we can bring this to them, they can be interviewed and treated through our counseling program right there in the unit."
The mobile unit will also be used for prevention, education, and intervention outreach events. Timothy Jennings Bey is CEO of the Street Addiction Institute.
"This is a step toward giving the young people and the families the attention that they need. Attention will lead to relationships. You can't do anything without forging a relationship with people. You can't help if you don't have the relationship."
Some of the trauma might be related to gun violence specific to a neighborhood. He knows the mass shooting in Buffalo might hit close to home.
"Some people would say, well, we have those issues here. Maybe not on that scale. Hopefully teachers, community centers are having conversations with young people about what's going on around the nation, what's going on in our state."
The mobile response unit is one of more than a dozen being deployed across the state. It complements a similar unit being used in Syracuse to respond to those having a mental health crisis. A team with Liberty Resources can be called to a scene instead of the police. Assistant DA Jarrett Woodfork says the immediate responses can be critical.
"These mobile units allow the different agencies to be more proactive, to not wait for something to come to them, for a trauma to expose itself, but be involved and be where they need to be to address it right from the start."