Resources for identifying the bad guys

I am writing today to thank you for publishing the thoughtful and well-written essay, “Charm: A pedophile's secret weapon” [July 25 issue] by Janis Jaquith. Seeing this essay in the Hook was much appreciated, as it most certainly helped to increase awareness of this serious issue.

The author noted that the case she discussed took place outside of Virginia, and she wondered “how many single mothers, here and elsewhere, are dealing with this.” Unfortunately, the sexual, physical, mental, and medical abuse of children is more prevalent in Virginia and in our community/county than most people may realize.

The author also asked the question: “How are we to discern the good guys from the bad guys?” The good news is that there are resources available locally to help concerned parents, grandparents, and othersbto prevent and stop child abuse. The Foothills Child Advocacy Center (1106 East High Street) offers Stewards of Children, a free training
program that empowers adults to protect children.  The next public training is at 9am Friday, August 30, at the Albemarle County Office Building, 1600 Fifth Street, and people can contact our office to register. We also provide trainings for organizations and groups upon request.

We were established in 2006 as a not-for-profit, accredited agency designed to provide a coordinated system of effective response and
intervention to children who have been victimized. We primarily serve Charlottesville and Albemarle County, although we do work with agencies from surrounding counties as requested.  Our community is fortunate to have a child advocacy center; Foothills is one of only 15 child advocacy centers in Virginia, and the majority of Virginia’s counties and cities do not have access to such a center or the
services it provides.

Our goals are to minimize trauma, promote healing, ensure child safety, and hold perpetrators accountable. We do this through providing a safe place for child victims and their non-offending
family members/caregivers to meet with Charlottesville/Albemarle Child Protective Services and law enforcement staff for forensic interviews
and crisis intervention. The child is interviewed at Foothills by a professional who is specially trained in child forensic interviewing. Caretakers receive crisis intervention and referrals for ongoing services that support the child or family. More information regarding this process can be found on our web site at

Cathee Johnson Phillips
Executive Director
Foothills Child Advocacy Center