Child Abuse Prevention Month: Bivona cements commitment by signing MOU

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. Child abuse is something very real and present in our community. Nationally, nearly five children die each day due to abuse or neglect.

That’s why April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. On Wednesday, Bivona Child Advocacy Center signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cement its commitment to prevention and awareness.

Bivona serves around 2,000 children a year with investigative and healing services. They partner with 23 local agencies to investigate and provide support for families.

“When a child comes to us hurting, it is our goal to restore hope,” said Dr. Daniele Lyman-Torres, president and CEO at Bivona.

Lyman-Torres said every day, she sees children and teens grow up without hope.

“We stand here, another year, to sign this MOU because we are not done yet,” she said.

She said the signing signifies a commitment with all of their partnering agencies. These agencies include local police departments, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Department of Human Services.

Lyman-Torres said they also work to educate schools on child safety matters like bullying and digital abuse.

“71% percent of the children we see are under the age of 12,” said Lyman-Torres. “Helping to ensure that hope stays with them into young adulthood will help us get closer to the world we want to see.”

Thalia Wright, Monroe County’s Commissioner of Human Services, knows firsthand how hard it is to work with children who have been abused.

“Personally, I started my career at Monroe County as a child protective investigator, so I know how hard and intimately our team works, how blessed we are, it’s not an easy job. But they show up and they show out every single day,” she said.

Support services are in high demand right now, she said. But in the coming days, their team is about to grow.

“Over the next few months or so, we are bringing on about 50 new caseworkers to Child Family Services. We’re in the process right now of onboarding and training,” she said. “So it’s been a marvelous experience as well, just seeing all the new faces coming in, and the excitement, because they all come in wanting to make a difference.”

Families in need of help can reach out to the Department of Human Services at 753-6000 or Bivona at 935-7800.