Child advocacy center launches new project

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV)-- The Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center launched a new project to help heal children and families who've experienced neglect or abuse because of substance abuse.

Due to the opioid epidemic in the state, many children are traumatized by their parents' drug use.

"What we were seeing is a lot of parents relapsing and kids going in and out of the system. So, this was definitely causing them to be traumatized over and over again," said Dr. Laura Capage the Executive Director of the Monongalia County Child Advocacy Center.

The Drug Endangered Children (DEC) project was developed to give parents a hard look at how their choices and behavior have impacted their children. They'll be given help to make positive long-lasting changes.

"Help them get to a place where they really can make some long-standing changes to benefit their children, so that they can be reunified with them," said Capage.

Having the help of family advocates gives these families the opportunity to be monitored closely and get the proper attention.

Officials say the more that children go through adverse experiences, the more likely they are to have problems as adults.

"Mental health problems and problems from substance use. If we really don't start turning this around then what we're doing is cultivating tomorrow's drug users," said Capage.

Last year, the center helped over 600 victims and these types of treatment packages will give parents the chance of getting sober and staying sober.

Through several types of therapy, research, and forensic interviews the professional are able to truly understand what a child may be experiencing at home.

"It really starts with a comprehensive psychological evaluation, so it can be really individualized to the family. So, we can make sure that the treatments we're using are really going to help these children," said Capage.

Helping these families can be the difference in the community.

"It's very critical that we help these families now, so that today's children don't become tomorrow's drug users," said Capage.

The services provided come at no cost and there will be a public launch for the project on September 26.