What happens when a relationship has deteriorated to the point that children become tools used by one spouse against another? Recent events in Indiana County show the results can be deadly. Five children killed, and authorities say that while those five defenseless victims are the most visible examples of the danger young people are in, there are many more who survive, but suffer from traumatic scarring for the rest of their lives.
Kristina Taylor-Porter is with the Care Center of Indiana County. She agrees with District Attorney Pat Dougherty that when children are used as pawns, it can turn tragic. Taylor-Porter says the psychology of a parent taking the lives of his children, as happened in the Lewis Beatty case, is incomprehensible. And, like Dougherty, she says it is related to the father feeling his control over his family has been taken away. That loss of power in an ustable mind can be devastatingly tragic.
When a crime occurs, the Care Center of Indiana County conducts forensic interviews of abused and traumatized children, observed by law enforcement agencies and child welfare officials, to ease the burden on the young victims. Children are informed that they are being observed and recorded. Taylor-Porter says this type of approach protects the children by not forcing them to tell their story over and over again to authorities, and it allows for a quicker transition to care from child welfare agencies.
In addition, the Care Center conducts supervised visitations for parents in situations where a protection from abuse order has been issued, but parental rights are still intact. She says those visitations are observed to ensure that there is no threatening behavior toward children.
If you’d like to learn more about the Care Center and see some of the resources available to help child victims, visit their website, carecenterofindianaco.org.
Below is the video of Kristina Taylor-Porter's interview on WDAD's Indiana In the Morning, in which she expands on the dangers children face and her agency's role in the care of children and families.