slide1.jpg
slide2.jpg
slide3.jpg
slide4.jpg
slide5.jpg
slide6.jpg
 
One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like. But the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.
- Forest E. Witcraft
Error

If you have it, they will come

Pictured from left is, Crystal Ratcliff-Sevier County CPS Team Leader; standing left to right, Arthur M. Bohanan-Board Member, Connie Ball-Vice President, Barry Fain-President, Marian Oates-Board member, Carole Yett-Treasurer; kneeling, bottom right, Janice Hendrix-LCSW Child and Family Advocate; seated in middle left to right, Lady Vol Head Coach Pat Sumitt-official sponsor of Safe Harbor, Donna Koester-Executive Director.  Safe Harbor  Child AdvocacyCenter of the Fourth Judicial District-Cocke, Jefferson, Grainger and Sevier Counties. Pictured from left is, Crystal Ratcliff-Sevier County CPS Team Leader; standing left to right, Arthur M. Bohanan-Board Member, Connie Ball-Vice President, Barry Fain-President, Marian Oates-Board member, Carole Yett-Treasurer; kneeling, bottom right, Janice Hendrix-LCSW Child and Family Advocate; seated in middle left to right, Lady Vol Head Coach Pat Sumitt-official sponsor of Safe Harbor, Donna Koester-Executive Director. Safe Harbor Child AdvocacyCenter of the Fourth Judicial District-Cocke, Jefferson, Grainger and Sevier Counties.
The Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center held its first ever major fundraising event, “Raisin’ the Roof”, on June 9th at the Music Road Hotel & Convention Center.  And, the crowd turned out in mass.  The banquet facility was seated at almost capacity with a crowd ranging from longtime Safe Harbor supporters to those that have only recently learned of the organization’s work serving child-victims of severe abuse in Jefferson and the other three counties of the Fourth Judicial District.

Coach Pat Summitt, head coach of the Tennessee Lady Volunteer’s basketball team, served as guest speaker of the evening’s event and was joined by Jay Adams of Mix 105.5FM as the master of ceremonies.  Between the silent auction, live auction, table sales and corporate/private sponsorships of the event, the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center raised over $60,000 to begin building the first state-of-the-art facility to provide forensic interviews, forensic medical exams, counseling and education services for child-victims of severe abuse in Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties and their non-offending family members. 

“We had a great turnout and a great time”, states Barry Fain, a charter member and president of Safe Harbor’s board of directors.  “Coach Summitt gave a heartfelt presentation to our audience.  But, I think Collin Raye’s video was the real attention getter.”  The Eleventh Commandment is a specially produced music video by Collin Raye depicting the severe impact of abuse on children in our society, ranging from sexual abuse to severe physical abuse and neglect.

“Collin Raye’s video really speaks to its viewers”, interjects Arthur Bohanan, a charter member of Safe Harbor’s board of directors and nationally recognized forensics expert.  “I saw several eyes welling up with tears in the audience, as the video concluded and Coach Summitt prepared to address the crowd.”

“We are extremely grateful that Judge Strand and other representatives from Jefferson County were able to join us for the evening”, says Donna Koester, a charter member and executive director for Safe Harbor.  “Judge Strand and the other judges in our district have been extremely supportive of our efforts to help child-victims of abuse in our four county district.”

The “Raisin’ the Roof” gala to benefit Safe Harbor was jointly sponsored by: Apple Valley Comfort Inn; Black Bear Jamboree Chef’s Catering; Jim & Kati Blalock; Burchfiel-Overbay Associates; Citizens National Bank; Colonial Real Estate; Gary Woods Photography; Mix 105.5; The Mountain Press; Music Road Hotel & Convention Center; Natural Kneads Therapeutic Massage; Riverside Towers; Sevier County Bank; Sevier County Bar Association; Thompson-Carr; Tom & Diandra Trotter; and Williams Heating & Air.

     To learn more about the Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, contact their executive director, Donna Koester, by phone at (865) 453-2638 or e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  More information is also available on the organization’s website at www.SafeHarborCAC.com.  Safe Harbor is continually looking for volunteers with various talents and gifts to help meet the non-profit’s mission serving child-victims of severe abuse in Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson and Sevier counties.  Statistics indicate that jurisdictions with a functioning child advocacy center typically have higher rates of prosecution for perpetrators with longer sentences being served.

© The Newport Plain Talk

 

************************************************

 

THE MOUNTAIN PRESS

 

Kids Count report: Sevier has high child abuse numbers, offers solid prenatal care

September 25, 2006

by Joel Davis, Staff Writer

 

SEVIER COUNTY - With the publication of the Kids Count 2005 report, attention continues to be focused on the state of Sevier County's children.

 

Results were mixed with Sevier County doing better in some categories than its neighbors and the state and worse is others, but County Mayor Larry Waters said more work needed to be done.

"All the areas need to be improved," he said "We need to work on improving all the areas when it comes to the categories they are measuring."

For example, the county was rated better in the availability of adequate prenatal care than the state, but more needs to be done to insure the health of local mothers and their children.

Getting the word out about the importance of prenatal care is key, said Teresa Edens, a registered nurse who works in the Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center birthing center.

"What I initially see is two groups not getting adequate prenatal care are the Hispanic population and the teenage mothers," she said. "The biggest concern is just trying to get people in to see a doctor when they become pregnant."

Cultural and language barriers play a role, Edens said.Health Department Director Mickey Roberts told The Mountain Press in early 2006, about a survey of women in 16 East Tennessee counties about services such as prenatal care indicated that a portion of women only believed in going to the doctor when they were sick.

Sevier County also had the highest average child abuse rate, 7.8, of the four counties for the 2001-2003 time period; however, Waters said that child abuse prevention and advocacy measures have gained momentum in recent years with plans to build the
Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization that would serve children in the four counties that comprise Tennessee's 4th Judicial District.

One key to the success of
Safe Harbor is fulfilling the need for volunteers. Anyone interested can contact Koester at 453-2638 or e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Safe Harbor's Web site is www.SafeHarborCAC.com.

When it comes to education, Sevier County had the highest drop-out rate, 1.8 per thousand, for 2003 of its neighbors, but is well below the state rate of 3.0.

Debra Cline, the director of curriculum and instruction for Sevier County Schools, said the county system is working hard to keep students in school.

"We're doing a lot of things at the high school level to provide support programs for students who might be at risk," she said. "For example, we have implemented Freshman Academies at Seymour and Sevier County High Schools. It's designed to provide support for students as they make the transition to high school and also give them some real adult contact in a meaningful way."

Sevier County also did well when it came to the numbers of school suspensions in 2003 with the lowest rate of its neighbors.

Cline attributed the low rate to an assertive discipline program to communicate behavioral expectations to students and making consequences of behavior meaningful to them.

"Those things have positively impacted the behaviors in our buildings," she said.

Allen Newton, executive director of the Sevier County Economic Development Council, said the county has implemented long-term projects to help the children of the county.

One example is the Partners in Progress scholarship program the county funds, Newton said.

"Education is the key," he said.

The program, first offered in 2003, is funded by the governments of Sevier County, Gatlinburg, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge along with private donations. High school students from Sevier County with a 2.7 GPA can receive up to two years tuition at Walters State.

The Partners in Progress scholarship is a "last dollar" scholarship, meaning that it pays after all other financial aid sources - Pell grants, Walters State Foundation scholarships, Hope Lottery scholarships, etc. - have paid.

The Sevier First "smart card" project, designed to provide financial help for uninsured local residents, will also be beneficial to children in the community.

The card will operate like a debit card, accessing a $250-or-more balance provided by the recipient's employer to pay for health care at the Mountain Hope Good Shepherd Clinic in Sevierville.

The clinic is a nonprofit, faith-based center that provides medical care to uninsured residents of Sevier County.

The program will allow companies that do not offer health insurance benefits to begin helping their employees.

"The family will be on the card, it would cover kids," Newton said. "What we tried to do was make it as inclusive as possible with what we can do."

In addition, the state of Tennessee is developing the planned CoverKids program to extend comprehensive health coverage to every uninsured child in Tennessee.

The KIDS COUNT National Data Book is available on the Internet at www.kidscount.org or through TCCY's Web site (www.state.tn.us/tccy). The KIDS COUNT program is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to disadvantaged children. For more information call (615) 741-2633.

* jwdavis @themountainpress.com

Add comment