The Patticake House Child Advocacy Program
The Patticake House joined the Ruth's Cottage domestic violence program in 2005 to make the Tifton Judicial Circuit Shelter, Inc. a dual agency, with two state certified programs. The Patticake House is a Child Advocacy Centers of Georgia full affiliate child advocacy center which provides forensic interviews for children who have been suspected of having been severely physically abused, sexually abused and/or witness to severe family violence. The children served with a forensic interview are only referred for service by one or more of the following: law enforcement, Department of Family and Children’s Services and/or District Attorney’s Office. Children cannot be referred for an interview by a family member or a concerned citizen. Those who feel they know a child that has been abused or they strongly suspect abuse should call 911.
The forensic interview serves to investigate and learn from the child what actions occurred and all possible details regarding the possible perpetrator. The recorded interview becomes evidence possibly used by the District Attorney's Office for prosecution of the offender. This information is kept confidential as per GA Code 49-5-41.
The non-offending caregiver brings the child to The Patticake House for the interview appointment and while the child is being interviewed, the non-offending caregiver is also interviewed and receives supportive services. These include assistance with crime victim's compensation application and follow-up, referral for mental health or social services and support with possible food and clothing needs.
The organization is in the process of developing a forensic medical exam program. The Pediatric SANE program will be new to the judicial circuit and will prevent children of the circuit from having to wait for the exam and also prevent them from being transported 45 minutes or more away for an exam.
Post interview, the family support continues with follow up phone calls and assistance up to the time of the possible trial and court appearance. Each December, those who were served by The Patticake House in the past year are contacted for possible inclusion in the Suitcases for Kids Christmas Project as an additional service to the family.