Our guests are Kim Miller, the Executive Director of Mary Lee’s House and a special guest, Brenda Kocher and her dog Tibet.
Mary Lee’s House is a state of the Art Child Protection and Advocacy Center. It is one of a kind 33,000 square foot facility with five organizations working together for the prevention, intervention, and the treatment of child abuse.
Some Organizations That Provide Services at Mary Lee’ House:
At the USF Child Protection Team, physical and sexual abuse exams are performed to determine maltreatment. Family history and triggers which may lead to child abuse and neglect are also discussed during risk assessments. www.health.usf.edu
The Children’s Advocacy Center provides various services including live closed-circuit testimony so children do not have to face their alleged perpetrator in court. This 13th Judicial Circuit, Administrative Office of the Courts program is also where recorded forensic interviews take place to decrease how often child victims must repeat their story. www.fljud13.org
The Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County improves the health and well-being of pregnant women, children and families through the following programs: Healthy Start, Healthy Families, Mom Care, Children’s Board Family Resource Centers, Zero Exposure Project, Black Infant Health Practice Initiative, Safe Baby, Safe Baby Plus, Fetal Infant Mortality Review, Strong Start, Nurse-Family Partnership, and Beds 4 Babies. www.healthystartcoalition.org
Success 4 Kids & Families “Healthy Start” team provides in-home education and support programs to pregnant women and families with infants, serving as an important partner in building a better community. www.s4kf.org
The Corbett Trauma Center, a division of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, provides support for children and families through evidence-based treatment and nationally recognized counseling programs. www.corbetttrauma.com
Brenda Kocher, a Guardian ad Litem and Tibet (together known as Team Tibet) have been working at the Hillsborough County Courthouse and at Mary Lee’s House since February of 2014. Brenda and Tibet volunteer three days per week, dividing their time between the courthouse and Mary Lee’s House. “No two work days are the same,” says Brenda. “We go where we are most needed on any given day.”
Tibet has had the same breeding, extensive socialization, and expert training as service dogs, but has been specially selected and trained to work alongside a victim advocate, forensic interviewer, detective, medical provider or other professionals to enhance the services that person provides. Read more at: bit.ly/TeamTibet