I am honored to serve as the CAC Board President after serving on the Board for the last three years. I have over 20 years of experience in the field of child abuse and I am finding my work with the CAC to be extremely rewarding. After obtaining a Bachelors Degree in Social Work in 1990, I worked as a Children’s Services Worker in Detroit Michigan for two years. In 1995, I obtained a law degree from Whittier Law School and started working at the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles. There I spent 10 years providing legal representation to abused and neglected children in Dependency proceedings. In 2005, I became a Deputy County Counsel for the Dependency Division of the Los Angeles County Counsel’s office where I represent the Department of Children and Family Services in Dependency proceedings. In 2006 I was Certified by the National Association of Counsel for Children as a Child Welfare Law Specialist. Being asked to join the Board of the CAC was an honor as I was aware of their excellent reputation in the legal and social work community.
This is an exciting year for the CAC and I am thrilled to be a part of our change and growth. We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary with a Gala in October. The move to our beautiful new facility has finally taken place. This facility provides a calm, peaceful home like setting for children and their families. It will also enable us to grow and provide more services to the children and families we serve. I welcome the opportunity to discuss the CAC, board membership, community involvement and giving. Thank you for celebrating our successes with us and for your support to help children who’ve been abused. – Maria Griglio
John Pomroy was hired as Executive Director in April after working for 5 months as Interim Executive Director. John is one of the founding members of the CAC and was its second Board President. John takes great pride in working to advocate for children and victims of crime, so this is a very good fit for him. He has served as an instructor at domestic violence and sexual assault agencies, and taught parenting through Pomona Unified School District Adult Education. He is a past member of the board of directors of Project SISTER Family Services(a sexual assault intervention agency).
John retired from the Pomona Police Department in December, 2013 after 25 years of service. Promoted to detective in 1993, John has been assigned to investigate a variety of cases, including; missing persons, hit and run traffic collisions, pawn shops, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence and gangs. For the last ten years, he was assigned to investigate financial crimes.
Before being a police officer, John worked at the Masonic Home for Children as a house parent. As a house parent, John lived and worked with about 50-60 kids. The kids and house parents became one big family. Several years ago, John started reconnecting with some of the kids and other house parents and attended many reunions with them. When John came back to the Masonic Home, he got the idea of moving the CAC to the Masonic Home campus. His dedication and hard work over the last two years was finally rewarded when the CAC moved to the Masonic Home campus in March, 2014.
John is married and has three children.
In March, 2014, the Children’s Advocacy Center moved into a 5,600 square foot home on the Masonic Home campus in Covina. The new location is located in a tranquil park like setting. In addition to having more than twice the amount of space, the home is very welcoming for children and adults. This new location will allow the CAC to add a second interview room, increasing the number of children and families who can be receive our services. In addition, the new location is more centrally located thereby making access more convenient to the many agencies that comprise our Multi-Disciplinary Team.
The new location has two beautiful waiting rooms for children and their families, two patios, a nearby playground as well as private meeting areas for team members to discuss cases.
A generous donation from Al Solis, the owner of Mission Recycling in Pomona, made the installation of the new recording equipment possible.
9/2/12 Speak up for kids – DailyBulletin.com
In the wake of the recent conviction of Jerry Sandusky for multiple sexual abuse offenses against young boys, along with a plethora of very public and high-profile reports of continuing abuses against our children (including those recently perpetrated by a third-grade teacher in the LAUSD school district), I am compelled to speak out.
For almost 30 years, I have worked to minimize trauma for children who have been abused. As the executive director for the Children’s Advocacy Center for Child Abuse Assessment & Treatment, I am faced with these realities every day.
We, and all of our professional partners, work with countless abused children – right here in the Inland Valley. After all these years, it still boggles the mind and heart. I recognize how one can become numb to these “stories”: sexual abuses of children, children who live with constant violence or threat of violence. It is such a “constant” in the world that we’ve almost come to accept it as a sad reality of life. We shake our heads in disbelief or disgust and carry on. Yet these children are being traumatized – surviving like “soldiers in the trenches” with constant and terrifying vigilance – but with no training or defense against the assaults they face.
The ripple effect of abuse is pervasive – abused children run a higher risk of perpetuating abuse on subsequent generations, using special education services, becoming engaged in juvenile and adult criminal activity, suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, unemployment and underemployment and being high users of the healthcare system.
These potential outcomes, however, can be mitigated by intervention and treatment. There are signs and symptoms that a child will experience when in deep distress, and we can learn these signs and act. Start with opening the lines of communication with your own children. There are resources in the community and online for this as well.
Call for help if you suspect a child is being maltreated. Don’t turn away. Your discomfort in reporting is minimal compared to the suffering of these children. I know this. I see (and hear) them every day.
Director, Children’s Advocacy Center
Editor’s note: Other resources include Project Sister Family Services, projectsister.org; StopItNow.org;
ChildHelp.org; and the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (most can call anonymously).
Lillian Maguire Recognized By National Children’s Alliance For Outstanding Leadership In The Children’s Advocacy Center Movement
Washington, D.C., June 21, 2010 — On Tuesday, June 8, Lillian P. (Billie) Maguire of Claremont, CA received the Volunteer Leadership Individual Award from National Children’s Alliance for her outstanding leadership and support of the Children’s Advocacy Center Movement, and specifically the Children’s Advocacy Center for Child Abuse Assessment and Treatment in Pomona, CA . Billie has demonstrated a passion for this important cause through volunteer and personal commitments to children’s advocacy. The award was presented at the Annual Awards Luncheon during the 2010 National Children’s Alliance Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. (June 6 – 9).
Billie received the 2010 Volunteer Leadership Individual Award as a result of her dedication to a local Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC). Having been involved with the development of the Pomona, CA CAC since 2002, Billie embodies all of the qualities of a positive role model and change-maker within the Children’s Advocacy Center movement. Not only has Billie supported the development of the organization, she has also been responsible for the creation of a Claremont Graduate University speaker forum on child abuse and the work of CACs, drawing both professional and lay audiences As stated by her nominee, “Anyone who has met Ms. Maguire is changed by her ‘can do’ attitude in helping children.”
“We are so proud of Billie and her work in helping the most vulnerable members of our society. Billie takes every opportunity to raise awareness about issues of childhood, particularly the issue of child abuse. She has been a virtual ‘magnet’ in drawing supporters and donors to the Children’s Advocacy Center effort. The Center in Pomona has grown as an accredited entity with the NCA, demonstrating the high standards of operation that are followed and the staff and board’s impassioned efforts. Billie’s hard work has allowed us to grow each year in terms of the number of children we are able to help,” states Jeanne Roy, Executive Director of the CAC in Pomona.
“It is with great pleasure that we recognize Billie Maguire for her important role on behalf of the Children’s Advocacy Center Movement. Billie has greatly contributed to the child advocacy field and, on behalf of National Children’s Alliance and our over 700 members across the country, I thank Billie for her exemplary leadership,” remarked Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance.
The Children’s Advocacy Center in Pomona serves several cities in the Pomona and San Gabriel Valleys. The mission is to provide a child-friendly, multidisciplinary response to child abuse allegations. Reducing trauma in children is the primary goal. Professionals from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office, Department of Children & Family Services (child protection), law enforcement, forensic medical evaluators, child advocacy and mental health observe child interviews behind a one-way mirror and participate in a non-intrusive fashion. Interviewers are specially trained professionals who work with children of all ages, including those with special needs. Services are offered in English and Spanish. All cases are coordinated and handled with the best interests of the child and family in the forefront.
National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is a national association dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient and put the needs of child victims of abuse first. As the accrediting body for the over 700 Child Advocacy Centers around the country, NCA provides training, financial support, technical assistance, leadership, national advocacy and access to current research findings on a national level to children’s advocacy centers around the country as well as numerous developing centers, multidisciplinary teams and child abuse professionals. As the national authority on multidisciplinary approaches to supporting child victims of abuse, NCA’s purpose is to empower local communities to provide comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse. For more information about National Children’s Alliance and the 2010 Leadership Conference and Awards, please visit www.nationalchildrensalliance.org
Read the “CAC Update” — Our official newsletter!
The Children’s Advocacy Center in Pomona is getting a lot more attention these days. And after recently securing a much sought after accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance in Washington D.C., the center for abused children expects to be busier than ever.
The center provides a safe environment for sexually and physically abused children to tell their stories of trauma. They are interviewed by a trained specialist while audio and video recordings are made of each session.
“In traditional cases like this, children would be interviewed multiple times by a police officer, the district attorney, child services representatives. It can be very tough on them,” said Jeanne Roy, CAC’s executive director. “This setup allows the child, who has already been through a traumatic experience, to be interviewed by only one person. Often times, the videos we take are compelling enough to secure a plea bargain and the child doesn’t even need to appear in court.
“District attorneys are very happy to see so many of these cases being prosecuted,” she said. “Before, many of these cases would just slip through the cracks. Now we are sending out a message to the community that you are not going to get away with this anymore.”
Law enforcement officials are beginning to recognize the CAC’s strengths in dealing with child abuse and are referring more and more cases their way. Since the center first opened in July 2004, they would interview roughly 3 children a week, Ms. Roy said. But over the last 6 months, that number has doubled.
Claremont police Lt. Shelley Vander Veen said that the center has become a useful resource for detectives in Claremont and an asset to the community.
Police detectives and district attorneys can even witness the interviews from a hidden backroom. During a break, they can request the interviewer to ask certain questions that are pertinent to their investigations.
The expanded demand for their services has the center itself looking to grow. Ms. Roy hopes to hire several more child interviewers and begin their own training courses on interviewing techniques.
The child-friendly atmosphere in the center allows visitors to feel welcome and at home. The center has two waiting rooms as colorfully decorated as any kindergarten and enough chocolate and snacks to feed an entire school.
“Our job is not to make a child talk but to provide a safe environment for them to tell their story if and when they are ready,” said Melinda Wheeler, one of the center’s interviewers.
Children range in age from two to 17. The interviews usually last around one hour but at times drag out much longer, Ms. Roy said.
Ms. Wheeler said that roughly 90 percent of children are very open about their experiences upon the first interview. But others are more guarded and sometimes will require counseling before they feel comfortable discussing the abuse that they have endured.
“Younger children have less trouble opening up than older ones, who are more aware of the ramifications of what they are saying,” Ms. Wheeler said. “Sometimes they have been pressured by their family to keep quiet. Something like this can break a family apart and teenage youths are well aware of that.” The CAC covers 12 different municipalities in eastern Los Angeles County and the San Gabriel Valley. It has worked on more than 400 cases over the past 3 years. Its recent accreditation will open the door for more grant money, Ms. Roy hopes, but the center still mainly runs on donations from sponsors.
“It is not a fun reason to be [here],” Ms. Roy said. “But many times I see a sense of relief in their faces when the children are leaving. They can get on with their lives as soon as possible and get the help that they need.”
– Tony Krickl