Heart of the High Plains: The Bridge-Children’s Advocacy Center

Heart of the High Plains

“People are understanding what this taboo subject is and that it can no longer be taboo,” said Shelly Bohannon, Executive Director of The Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center.

A sense of comfort and trust, it’s a big part of what Bohannon and her staff at The Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center provide to area children and youth that have experienced traumatic situations or abuse. The idea to help these children out originated back in the late eighties.

“Our team of professionals realized that the judicial system and the investigative system was re-traumatizing children and their families. They decided that there had to be a better way of handling these sensitive cases with children who are dealing with trauma,” said Bohannon.

In 1989, The Bridge opened up as the first child advocacy center in Texas. Today the center helps a tremendous amount of children and their families here on the high plains.

“We are currently seeing 1,200 children a year and that has increased annually,” said Bohannon.

One of the first steps in the process of helping them move forward is a forensic interview. Bohannon says the key to it, is making the child feel comfortable talking about an uncomfortable subject.

“If they feel safe, they are going to communicate even better. They want to tell people things, we just have to take a minute to stop and listen and that’s really the beauty of a forensic interview is that we have children in the room one-on-one and we’re able to just listen. It’s really an experience to watch children tell their story and communicate that to an adult. It’s pretty spectacular,” said Bohannon.

The reward for helping those children that are in need, is something pretty special.

“To know that we’re giving them everything we can and maybe that even this little piece of kindness will help them move on. Just to know that, that’s a cool thing to have every day,” said Bohannon.

To learn more about their community education programs, you can visit their site at https://www.bridgecac.org/

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