Children at Risk Evaluation Services
Caring about the truth,
because every child deserves to be safe.
Since 1995, CARES has provided evaluation services to children who are suspected victims of abuse in the Magic Valley and surrounding areas. CARES is a neutral, child-friendly facility where children can feel safe and comfortable, and be heard. This vital community service is performed by caring professionals who are committed to the health and healing of children and families.
CARES serves an eight-county region that includesTwin Falls, Blaine, Jerome, Camas, Gooding, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Cassia counties and the Fort Hall Reservation. St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center is a lead agency in the CARES program, along with concerned citizens, agency officials, health care officials, judges, and police officers.
CARES provides child victims and their families an opportunity to understand their trauma and begin the process of healing in a warm and accepting environment. Services include medical examinations and forensic interviews conducted by specially trained professionals, education for parents and children, follow-up, advocacy, crime victims compensation assistance, court preparation, and referrals to counselors and other community resources.
The CARES program provides a sensitive, caring, and comprehensive medical and forensic evaluation of a child’s injuries, thus minimizing the need for repeated exams and interviews. Interviews are carried out in a child-friendly room specially equipped for videotaping. The medical exam is performed to ensure the health and safety of the child, reassure the child that everything is okay with his or her body, diagnose and treat medical conditions related to the abuse, and document significant physical and forensic findings.
Parents are provided with the information and assistance they need to help their child overcome the trauma. Counseling scholarships are available for children and families, thanks to United Way.
Education and Support Group for Non-Offending Parents of Child Victims
CARES is sponsoring this important resource for families through its United Way funded program, Child Trauma Recovery Resource. This 10-week group will cover topics relating to the impact of child sexual abuse on both the child and the non-offending parent.
Pre-registration is required. If you are interested in attending a session, please contact CARES at (208) 814-7750. Location: St. Luke's Magic Valley Education Center, 801 Pole Line Road West, Twin Falls.
CARES in located in Twin Falls, where most interviews and examinations are conducted. We also have a satellite clinic in Rupert for interviews.
CARES is staffed by five employees in Twin Falls and one in Rupert. Kathryn Reese, MD, a Twin Falls pediatrician, is CARES medical director, and Patricia Billings, NP is our pediatric nurse practitioner.
How to Access CARES
Idaho law requires that anyone who believes a child has been physically or sexually abused report the abuse to local authorities. Child Protection Services or the police can arrange for services from the CARES program.
Phone: (208) 814-7750
Fax: (208) 814-7759
P.O. Box 409
Twin Falls, ID 83303
About Child Abuse and Neglect
In the Magic Valley, as well as nationally, one of every four girls and at least one of every five boys is sexually abused by age 18.
From October 2007 through September 2008, CARES served 284 children who were suspected victims of abuse. Most of the allegations were for sexual abuse, by far, followed by physical abuse and child witness to violence. Most of the alleged perpetrators were parents or step-parents, by far, followed by a parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend. None of the suspects were strangers to the children.
Magic Valley follows what we know about child abuse and neglect across the spectrum. In general, 93 percent of all victims know their abusers. Most children never report their abuse. Those who keep it a secret or who “tell” and are not believed are at a far greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood.
It is vital that children tell their story, and that they are believed.
How You Can Help
No child is ever refused access to the services of CARES. CARES is funded in large part by grants and donations, since fees charged offset only about one-third of our costs. St. Luke's Magic Valley Health Foundation has built an endowment fund for CARES, to support the program when reimbursements fall short.
You can help ensure this vital community program will continue to be available to our children by making a tax-deductible contribution to the CARES Endowment Fund. To learn more, please contact St. Luke's Magic Valley Health Foundation online or call (208) 814-0070.
Thank you for your grant awards and your donations to CARES!
CARES is a full member of the National Children's Alliance. CARES meets the clinical and programmatic standards required by the National Children's Alliance. CARES receives technical assistance, training opportunities, funding resources, and networking abilities in conjunction with other centers across the country.
Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance
National Children's Alliance
National Abuse Hotline
(800) 4-A-CHILD (800 422-4453)