Kristen Foskett has stepped up to help spare children from having to travel to Portland for specialized sexual assault screenings and physical exams that are used to help build criminal cases against their abuser.
As of Tuesday, January 2, 2018
One Community Health’s Kristen Foskett has stepped forward to spare children from having to travel to Portland for physical exams and specialized sexual assault screenings that can be used to build a criminal case against their abuser.
Foskett, a certified family nurse practitioner in The Dalles, has teamed up with the Columbia Gorge Children’s Advocacy Center to provide services to youth from Wasco, Hood River, Gilliam and Wheeler counties.
The CGCAC has put out a call for other medical service providers to join Foskett in donating time to the facility, which opened in 2009 for the exclusive purpose of shielding children from trauma while law enforcement officials gathered evidence for court cases.
None of the hospitals in the Gorge perform forensic examinations on a regular basis for young sexual abuse victims, and some doctors refuse exams for physical abuse, which makes the need for services greater, said Beatriz Lynch, executive director of the center.
She said providers may not have the credentials or experience for diagnosis or treatment. Most of them, with a few exceptions, feel uncomfortable even taking a look at these children.
While some local doctors and the health care teams at OCH have been gracious about seeing some of the children that come into CGCAC, the void in constant care for young patients has been real, said Lynch.
“Most have ended up at Randall Children’s Hospital or CARES Northwest, the child abuse response and evaluation service provided under Randall – and yet we have so many great doctors right here in the Gorge,” she said.
“What we would love is for more medical providers, like Foskett, to partner regularly with CGCAC. We will happily create a schedule that works for them and provide training and support.”
She said CARES collaborates regularly with CGCAC, answering questions, providing resources and giving guidance.
“Our goal is to give these kids a sense of hope, and that starts with having a safe place like CGCAC that’s near home and where you can quickly connect with a caring, trusted provider,” said Lynch.
“In 2016, we had 73 cases, but we’ve already seen over 90 children and teens since the beginning of 2017. Given the rise in need, and in spite of Foskett’s help, we remain stretched really thin. We need more providers to join us and help.”
She said the winter months are a time when more cases come forward, in part, because school is in full swing and there are more eyes on children.
Foskett will be dedicating her Mondays to work for the center, which is based in Hood River. She is filling a vacancy left by Dr. Michele Beaman of Providence in Hood River, who performed the exams for seven years but stepped down almost a year ago.
“I’m really excited to be stepping into this role,” said Foskett.
The multidisciplinary team, a group of area agencies that work with children, appealed to medical professionals to help out because they said young victims disclosed best in a supportive environment, which CGCAC provides.