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Five Questions with Ron Carrier

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Fifteen years after Ron Carrier helped create the Child Advocacy Center, the nonprofit is rewarding him with the 2010 Dr. John P. Ferguson Award for Child Advocacy. Carrier resigned from the board of directors in January after serving since 1996.

Q: What was your reaction to winning the Ferguson Award?
I was very humbled. … The award is named after (Springfield) Dr. John P. Ferguson. In the late ’80s (and) ’90s, he was the only physician here who would perform child sexual-abuse physical exams. He took a large amount of his time to conduct that service, (and) having to testify in court in trials and various hearings. The center wanted to establish the award for somebody who worked in the child advocacy field (and) thought it was appropriate to be named after him.

Q: You’ve been involved with the CAC from the beginning. What spurred the organization’s development?
Back in the late ’80s, early ’90s, a child who made an allegation of sexual abuse in Greene County would have to go through a number of stops at different locations and talk to a number of people. There might be multiple interviews by law enforcement, Division of Social Services, juvenile authorities and then have to go to a physician’s office for an examination. There was a group of individuals who, we thought, could do a better job helping the child through that process.

Q: How has the center evolved with time?
The center has expanded to serve children throughout southwest Missouri. … It’s unfortunate that so many children need the center’s services, but it’s great that the center is there. In many instances, a child who will come to the center for an interview regarding sexual allegations … may not have been seen by a doctor for basic health care services for a very long period of time, so there is a care examination.

Q: Does your job at the attorney general’s office intersect with CAC?
When I was with the Greene County prosecutor’s office, … I had the opportunity to prosecute cases in which children had received services from the center. I have been able to serve in that role at the attorney general’s office because the attorney general is appointed to serve as special prosecutor or to assist small-county prosecutors in child sexual-abuse allegations. It’s an opportunity to see through the work of the center how children are being served. That’s a unique perspective.

Q: What was one of the biggest accomplishments you’ve seen at CAC?
In 1995 and 1996, multiple agencies and multiple interests (that) cared for children in our community … said, “we can each come to the table and work together. Not just to address our legal mandate, but to do so in a manner that we serve the child in the best interests possible and protect the integrity of the judicial system. … ”
Back then, you had a lot of folks who were willing to stop being concerned about their turf and being more concerned about our children … led by Dr. Jim Blaine, Tom Mountjoy and the Greene County Health Department.
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