Spotlight with CSC Forensic Interviewer Karen Blackstone

Karen Blackstone is celebrating 19 years with the Children’s Safety Center!

Karen became familiar with the CSC as an intern while finishing up her Social Work degree at the University of Arkansas. From there she moved into the child advocate role and then became a forensic interviewer in 2001. To date, Karen has conducted over 2,000 interviews for local law enforcement, Arkansas State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Homeland Security and the Department of Human Services. Through the Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape & Domestic Violence, she has been the Washington County Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator, since 2006.

Karen is a vital part of the Children’s Safety Center and we are proud to have her on our team. Read more about Karen below:

What is your favorite thing about your job at the CSC? My favorite thing about my job would be the challenge of balancing the art and science of talking and listening to children/teens. I thrive on thinking of new techniques, new ideas and applying them in practice. I also like to read studies and stay current on research in my field of practice. Oh and one more. I know I have written several things but this is just as important. I like working with partnering agencies like law enforcement, prosecutors, juvenile court personnel, State Police investigators, DHS investigators, etc. It is like an insiders club and there are some things only us who work in this field together day after day understand. We are a team.

What is the biggest challenge you face with your job at the CSC? I like challenges. If you are asking about what is the most difficult for me in my job, I would have to say the sacrifices I have made with my family in order to serve and be the only interviewer on-call for numerous years. But that has changed and I am not on-call every night and every day. So, the biggest challenge is raising up the next generation of professionals who find interviewing children/teens as their gift.

What is one thing you wish the community knew about the CSC? We are professionals who get to work together towards a common goal. I want my community to know that even if they are not familiar with CSC that’s okay. Become familiar and lend your support. I have heard many many times in church if you are not a missionary – the one to go out into the world, you could be a sender who supports the missionary. Not all professionals are meant to work at CSC, but all people could become senders in their own community by supporting a local mission…. ending child abuse right here.

What makes you smile? Children, teenagers, my daughter, my sons, my daughters-in-law and my granddaughter, my best friend and thoughts about my co-workers, those are just a few of the things that brings me to show the joy I feel inside.

Karen and her daughter Sarah Grace

Karen


#SpotlightSunday with CSC Volunteer Paula Miller

For the past 5 years, Paula Miller has been assisting the Children’s Safety Center every other weekend by volunteering as an on-call forensic interviewer. Paula is passionate about children, especially her grandchildren, and wants to give back by helping the CSC team. Thank You Paula!

How did you become involved with the CSC? 

I became involved with the CSC in 2012 when I was an intern under CSC forensic interviewer, Karen Blackstone.

Why do you stay involved?

I have stayed involved because of my belief that childhood should be a time of learning, exploration, and catching bugs; it should not be about knowing the pain of physical abuse or the loss of ones innocence due to sexual abuse. Every child deserves to feel safe.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering for the CSC?

My favorite thing about volunteering at the CSC is the group of people I get to work with. The dedication of everyone here is truly inspiring!

Fun Fact about yourself…

A fun fact about me…I love the zoo! Wherever my family and I have vacationed, if there was a zoo nearby, we went and visited it! I even went to the drive-thru safari a couple of weekends ago!

Paula Miller


#SpotlightSunday with CSC Therapy Intern Kim Elliott

Our Children’s Safety Center team and our kids were lucky this spring and summer to have Kim Elliott as our therapy intern. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of her clients as well as helping with other things going on at the Center, even the Dream Big Charity Gala. Kim’s last day was Friday and we will miss her but know she will continue to do great things.

How did you become involved with the CSC?

I became involved with the CSC through the University of Arkansas Graduate program.

What have you learned about the CSC?

I have been able to see firsthand the impact the center has on not only the child, but the parents and community. It is a positive, fun, safe environment for children dealing with horrible traumas. The center allows children to tell their story and assists them in become a kid again.

What is your favorite thing about being an intern  for the CSC?

My favorite thing about being an intern for the CSC has been getting to see children and adolescence come in broken and leave with smiles on their faces. The center is able to help kids fit their trauma in their life, and not let it define their lives.

Fun Fact about yourself…

I am one of eight kids, seven girls and one boy!

Kim