The Family Advocacy Center at Baystate Children's Hospital in Springfield announced they had earned re-accreditation Wednesday. The accreditation comes from the National Children's Alliance. The advocacy center must apply for accreditation every five years.
The center helps children who may have been victims of violence or abuse.
The Hampden County District Attorney's Office was also on hand. Dr. Stephen Boos, co-medical director for the center, said the rigorous process would not have been possible without the assistance of the DA's office and other local law enforcement agencies.
The collaboration was meant to ease the trauma of multiple interviews, so children would not have to relive the event several times.
Boos said their current goal was to treat children who were victims, but their ultimate goal was prevention. He said there was growing research that children undergo physical changes leading to long-term health problems. He noted those physical changes could be stopped or even reversed if the problem was caught and addressed early enough.
The district attorney's office said they interviewed 272 children in 2012. As of Wednesday, they had interviewed 217. Not all of the interviews ended with criminal charges because there was not enough proof of abuse.
District Attorney Mark Mastroianni said the number of child abuse and violence cases has dramatically increased in the past few years. He said the main reasons for the increase were because schools and law enforcement agencies were better educated in how to spot warning signs.
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