Celebrating 20 years of service to children!

 Dearing House opened its doors in April 2003 after two years of renovation of a building donated by the Dearing family.  The idea for a child advocacy center in Kay County began in 1998 when local prosecutors, law enforcement, child welfare, advocates and medical and mental health professionals recognized the need to improve community response to child abuse victims to prevent repeated interviews of child victims.  The concept of a child advocacy center, where all agencies responding to child abuse can focus on the needs of the child, began in Huntsville, Alabama in 1985 and now there are over 20 centers in Oklahoma and 1,000 across the country!

Funding for Dearing House comes from contracts with the State of Oklahoma, federal grants, foundations, corporations, fundraisers, and individual donors.  Families are never charged for our services.  We provide forensic interviews, mental health services, sexual assault exams, community teamwork, parent education, and training for investigators and advocates.  

Contracts and grants are considered "restricted funds" and are limited to specific services.  Individual donors and local fundraising are "unrestricted" which allows us to respond to a child victim's individual needs, outside of the grant limitations.  For instance, the contract or grant will pay for the Advocate who meets with the family, but not the wrapped snacks we need for kids so we rely on local donations to fill our cabinets and to keep Sonic cards on hand when kids are needing a meal or ice cream.  Or a child victim may need specialized services out of town which presents a hardship for the parents, so we have gas cards on hand.  "Restricted" funds do not do that....you do!

In 20 years, we have helped over 2,000 children, and help includes supporting the family during the entire process of responding to abuse as well as the court process which sadly can take months if not years. Our purpose is to make sure the child's voice is heard and to coordinate with dozens of other agencies to help each family find a wide range of services to support them on the road to healing.  As the hub for response to child abuse victims, Dearing House is in a unique position to see the changes that occur in children when they are no longer carrying the secret of abuse alone and have a team of professionals, as well as supportive caregivers, focused on their resiliency and ability to reach their full potential.  I wish you could see the smile on that child's face firsthand, it makes our day!