At the end of the day, one of the missions of the Small Talk Children’s Advocacy Center is to not exist. That might seem like an unusual goal for this small business located in Delhi Township. But for a non-profit providing services for families impacted by child abuse, such a goal would mean a community where every child is safe from sexual and physical abuse.
“Addressing the concern of child abuse is important in any community,” said Small Talk Executive Director, Alex Brace. “It is a crime that can happen to any child regardless of where they live.”
Small Talk serves Ingham and Eaton counties and appreciates being centrally located in Delhi Township. They have been providing free services for families since 2012. This includes services such as statement interviews, counseling, canine support, and other types of support resources throughout the legal process. They work closely with law enforcement, medical professionals, the prosecutor’s office, and Child Protective Services (CPS). According to Alex, Small Talk “brings the whole team together and builds this community around a child of all these different professionals to support them through their healing process and the criminal justice process.”
Part of the team includes Loki, Small Talk’s canine advocate. A child can have Loki present when they tell their story, and he can even go to court and sit in the witness stand with them.
Talking about child abuse can be uncomfortable. But as Alex pointed out, that’s why it’s so important. “Part of breaking down that stigma and making a safer community is for people to be able to have the courage to have some of these open conversations.”
Small Talk offers no cost training for the community to help get the conversation going. Any business or group of interested adults can have a Small Talk staff member educate them on how to prevent and respond to child abuse appropriately and responsibly. As in-person interactions in the community start to open back up, Small Talk can offer in-house training for businesses.
“The more we have these kinds of conversations, the less we’ll be needed. And at the end of the day, that’s what we want. We want to eradicate child abuse,” said Alex about Small Talk’s mission. “We can’t do that without community support and understanding.”
Small Talk is located at 3400 Pine Tree Road, Suite 106 in Lansing, 517.253.0728, smalltalkcac.org.