The mission of Pasco Kids First is to keep kids safe, strengthen families through empowerment and enhance our community by preventing child abuse and healing children from trauma.
Pasco Kids First was founded in 1989 and serves as the Children’s Advocacy Center in Pasco County with programs serving Pasco and Hernando Counties. All of the services are focused on the prevention, assessment and treatment of child abuse and neglect.
This family came to the attention of Pasco Kids First through a request from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office. The victim, a fourteen-year-old female, had disclosed a sexual assault and a specialized pediatric medical exam was requested for the purpose of gathering forensic evidence. Throughout the exam it became clear that additional services provided by Pasco Kids First could benefit the family. The Child Protection Team completed a forensic interview, to gather further information about the child’s abuse in a neutral, safe setting. The victim disclosed additional, previously unknown details of her abuse which had been going on for many years. The information provided in the forensic interview helped to corroborate details ultimately assisting in the criminal investigation.
A forensic interview was also completed with the victim’s younger sister. Although this young child lacked direct knowledge of her sibling’s trauma, it became clear she was both aware of and had witnessed an unhealthy parent/child relationship. The two young females as well as their older sibling received trauma treatment services with Pasco Kids First’s Trauma Therapy Program while their mother also received services to help assist her children in coping with their traumatic history. Parent coaching was also offered by the Healthy Families program, also part of Pasco Kids First. Because of the services under the umbrella of Pasco Kids First, this family was able to experience cohesive wrap around services.
The child and teen survivors in the therapy program are given the opportunity to create a t-shirt to take home or be displayed through the halls at the Children’s Advocacy Center. Through their words and drawings, the children and adults that come through the doors, are able to express their inner strength and the journey to healing. These T-shirts offer the opportunity for survivors to be heard and show other victims that they are not alone and there is hope for healing.
Pasco Kids First has been serving kids and families in Pasco County for 32 years and Hernando County for 14 years.
In 2020, the Pasco Kids First Child Protection Team reviewed 6,135 child abuse and neglect reports.
To learn more about Pasco Kids First please visit www.pascokidsfirst.org.