Children first – that’s goal at the heart of what CARES Northwest does.

The community-based medical program, which exists to assess, treat and prevent of child abuse, has always been devoted to cultivating a child-friendly environment. The staff and professionals at CARES (Child Abuse and Response Evaluation Services) Northwest recognize the trauma of reporting physical or sexual abuse, neglect or domestic violence. And their goal is to create as supportive and sensitive an environment as possible.

Founded in 1987, the program is one of the oldest and largest child abuse assessment centers in the nation. Through a partnership with three health systems – Kaiser Permanente, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Providence Health & Services, and Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel – CARES Northwest can pair physicians and nurse practitioners with child interviewers. Now, the program serves roughly 1,500 children every year.

By working with medical professionals trained in the area of child abuse assessment, CARES Northwest insures a level of accuracy in the diagnosis of child abuse or neglect. They also have a Family Support Program staffed by child and family therapists that provide everything from immediate services, to referrals. And every step of the way – from interviews, to medical examinations, to therapy, CARES Northwest works to provide a warm, safe, supportive environment for the children going through these processes.

This week at Portland Radio Project we featured CARES Northwest as part of our award-winning Community Voices series. You can listen below to interviews held with key members of the organization.