A CLOSER LOOK: 1 family’s division due to drugs; how CAC may help make amends

A Closer Look

"Drug addiction is something you can't understand until you deal with someone who is addicted"

ARKANSAS (KNWA) — “Drug addiction is something you can’t understand until you deal with someone who is addicted,” said one parent who spoke on the condition of remaining anonymous but will be referred to as “JD” for the remainder of this story.

JD invested more than a decade of his life helping raise his girlfriend’s seven children, they were never married. They met in high school and reunited again when they were both in their 20s.

Arkansas had been their home until JD finally walked away and relocated to another state. He has custody of two of the children, both younger than the age of 10, and they live with him.

“I was in love with her, with her children and I thought I could fix things,” said JD, “but I was wrong.”

I’ve been trying to get DNA tests done to see if any of the children are biologically mine, but so far she hasn’t been cooperative,” said JD.

“I couldn’t believe when she told me that she had been using drugs during our entire relationship,” said JD. He described her as a functioning addict, “but she has hit a new rock bottom.”

The girlfriend has had run-ins with the law for drug use — mainly methamphetamine. Most recently, she was arrested in December for felony drug and paraphernalia possession and endangering the welfare of a minor, according to a probable cause affidavit. We have decided to keep her nameless.

The report states that four of the children were with her at the time of her arrest. They range in ages of 15 years to three years. The oldest child was willing to take the blame for the contraband found.

Currently, the oldest child, a juvenile, is in custody facing serious criminal charges, according to JD. This is the second time the teen has been arrested on felonies and has served a least a couple of years at a juvenile detention center, according to social media posts.

The Arkansas schools where the children have attended and Child Protective Services are aware of a dysfunctional home situation, according to JD.

As of now, JD and the former girlfriend rarely communicate. The two children who live with him only hear from her about three times a year. “They don’t call her mom,” said JD, “they refer to her by her first name.”

CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER OF BENTON COUNTY:

Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Benton County opened its doors on January 10, 2000. In 20 years the agency has served thousands of children who were reportedly in abusive situations.

  • 2019: 997 cases
  • 2018: 977 cases
  • 2017: 833 cases
  • 2000: 72 cases

CAC was started so that families and investigators didn’t have to drive to Tulsa — the closest location. “We could help more families here,” said CAC Community Outreach Coordinator Melanie Halbrook.

Today, each county has access to a CAC agency in Arkansas.

CAC was initially housed in an 800 square foot building, today the building in Little Flock is 10,000 square feet and staff has increased, according to Halbrook. “Over the years we’ve needed to meet demands.”

The agency’s goal is to raise awareness in the community by doing fundraisers, training, awareness and education resources. “This has equipped people to be more confident to report abuse … children feel safe enough here to share their story,” said Halbrook.

Abuse comes in all forms: physical, sexual, verbal and/or drug-related.

The agency’s goal is to “eliminate child abuse” and the mission is “empowering children to find their voice,” according to its webpage.

At CAC, abused children and their families can get help and support needed to deal with abusive situations. CAC serves child abuse victims 18 years of age and younger, but only after a report has been made to the child abuse hotline.

CAC CORE VALUES:

  • Compassion: because life at times is fragile
  • Teamwork: because our mission/vision is too large for one person
  • Integrity: because so many are counting on us
  • Excellence: because we need to do our best for the right reason every day
  • Humility: because we all have limitations within our role

You may call the office and identify child abuse by calling 479-621-0385.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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