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Helping victims heal: Grants address growing child abuse referrals in Fox Valley

The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Foundation has been awarded two grants for a total of $50,000.00 to support staffing for its Child Advocacy Center – Promoting Healing for Child Victims project, to accommodate for a recent upsurge in child abuse referrals and mitigate the risks of secondary traumatic stress on providers. The grants were made from the Robert Dohr and Lilas Dohr Current Community Needs Fund, a field of interest fund, and from the Bright Idea Fund, both within the Community Foundation.

By Denise L. Hajos, development director, Children’s Hospital Foundation

The team at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all of you who have supported our efforts to obtain an additional nurse practitioner position in the Child Advocacy and Protection Services Program, specifically in the Fox Valley.

Medically caring for children at the CAC by evaluating suspected victims of child maltreatment at the Fox Valley Child Advocacy Center, these specialized services closer to home are such a benefit to communities and families.  Over the past several years, the volume of patients evaluated has steadily increased.

Additionally, the team is frequently asked to provide presentations to community partners including local medical providers.  It is difficult to realize that if the specialized staff is unable to provide the medical evaluation in a timely fashion, these kids are often sent to local providers where the expertise and comfort levels are not the same.  The addition of another provider will increase our ability to medically evaluate children who are suspected victims of child maltreatment in Northeastern Wisconsin, which provides expert medical knowledge, improving the accuracy of child maltreatment investigation and the safety of vulnerable children.

As a result of receiving a grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, we hired an

Grethel Hokenson

additional nurse practitioner. Grethel Hokenson is a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner and has 15 years of experience working with pediatric patients. She has extensive experience working with vulnerable populations from premature infants to young adults, and has worked in the Neonatal ICU, the Pediatric ICU, the pediatric inpatient unit, the newborn nursery and on a level 4 children’s transport team as a flight nurse.

Grethel’s diverse experience has given her the opportunity to work with many children who are being raised in less than optimal situations, including being abused or neglected. She has had the opportunity to work in both urban and rural areas, which has given her a broad understanding of working with different communities and observing the variety of challenges that they are facing. She first became interested in working with abused children when she realized the scope and prevalence for this population in need of help.

One of her many goals while at the Child Advocacy Center is to work with a multidisciplinary team to help prevent and eliminate the re-occurrence of child maltreatment by working together to reduce the incidence and negative impact of child abuse in the Fox Valley community. She finds it a privilege to be able to work with children during one of their most vulnerable time periods. She enjoys taking the time to listen to her patients and to truly understand their concerns and worries. She hopes that in a small way she can make a difference for abused and neglected children within our community.

Interested in starting a field of interest fund? We have a variety of flexible fund options. Check them out here.




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