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The Rathbun Agency Blog

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Community Highlight - Small Talk Children’s Advocacy Center

Striving to be a strong community partner, we partner with a different community organization each month through our Quotes for a Cause program. Our agency donates $5 per new business quote, regardless of whether or not the policy is actually purchased! We would like to expand their reach and give each month's organization some space to share their story!

In April, we are partnering with Small Talk Children's Advocacy Center for Quotes for a Cause. Small Talk works to provide a comfortable, child-friendly atmosphere where children receive coordinated services during the child abuse investigative process.

Coming up on April 26, join Small Talk and MSU Greek Life in the 1st Annual "Adventure for Advocacy: A Scavenger Hunt to End Child Abuse." Teams will be adventuring around MSU and East Lansing, completing missions using the GooseChase app. You can sign up here!

The organization facilitates its mission primarily through forensic interviews, crisis counseling, canine advocacy and a prevention program.

Forensic Interviews - After a child discloses abuse, the first step is a forensic interview. The goal of a forensic interview is to obtain a statement from a child, in a developmentally sensitive, unbiased, and truth-seeking manner, that will support accurate and fair decision-making in the criminal justice and child welfare systems. Members of the Small Talk team assemble for the interview of the child. Their goal is to conduct one interview by a trained professional to avoid revictimizing a child with repeated, unnecessary interviews.

Crisis Counseling - Small Talk provides individual counseling services at no cost to children and their families who go through the forensic interview process. Their counselors are trained in trauma-informed therapy that addresses feelings of guilt, anger, sadness, and fear that often accompany trauma. Small Talk focuses on helping to develop positive coping skills, processing thoughts and feelings, and using the child’s strengths to help him or her heal. They provide group therapy and a support group for caregivers. The group experiences help remind those affected by trauma that they are not alone and gives them the chance to learn from each other.

Canine Advocacy - Preston is a black Labrador Retriever. He was raised at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility in Iowa in the Prison Puppies program. Through a partnership with Leader Dogs for the Blind and the Canine Advocacy Program, Preston joined Small Talk Children’s Assessment Center as a canine advocate in September 2016. His job includes meeting with the kids who walk through the doors of Small Talk and providing comfort to them during the court process.\

Prevention Program - Small Talk has prevention programming in place to empower people to prevent child abuse. Our programs raise awareness in the community of the prevalence and consequences of abuse by educating adults and children. Adults learn the steps they can take to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to the reality of abuse. Children are taught protective skills, vocabulary to express their feelings and how to talk to a trusted adult.