Children’s Advocacy Center of Parker County has tapped a registered play therapist who is certified in trauma-informed care to be its executive director.
Cheryl Bullock, a native of Weatherford, will run the nonprofit, which coordinates with Child Protective Services and law enforcement to investigate child abuse claims and assist abused children.
Until September, Parker County was the largest county in Texas that hadn’t opened a child advocacy center.
“I know of children who have to go out of county to do their interviews and cannot afford counseling,” Bullock said. “I saw the need and wanted to be a part of something that benefited our children and the community.”
Bullock has 10 years of experience as a counselor. But her credentials weren’t all that impressed CACPC’s board of directors who announced her appointment on Friday, said the board’s president, Dedra Vick.
“We knew it was her passion to work with children [that made her stand out from other candidates], and you can’t teach passion,” Vick said.
While CACPC grows its employee base and moves into a new location, Bullock will be called upon to conduct forensic interviews with victims, Vick said.
Forensic interviewers are trained to use non-leading questions to obtain accurate accounts of victims’ stories. Vick said those interviews provide critical information for CPS and law enforcement, avoiding multiple interviews that require the victim to relive traumatic experiences.
“I believe children who have been abused deserve someone that will hear their story and help them start to heal,” Bullock said.
Through CACPC, families and victims will have access to therapeutic recovery, medical evaluations and advocacy.
CACPC aims to educate schools and communities about child abuse, a role Bullock will take on as executive director.
“I want the CACPC to become one of the foremost advocacy centers in Texas and be the leading resource for child abuse in our county,” Bullock said.
CACPC will be offering full services in the first few months of next year, she said.
Since the CACPC opened on Sept. 1, it has been housed in the County Attorney’s Office located at 118 W. Columbia, Weatherford, Texas. It will remain at that location for about another year before moving to a new location, Bullock said.