Risa Vetri Ferman, Montgomery County District Attorney, has been honored as a ‘Woman of Worth’ by L’Oréal Paris for her work as the co-founder of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center, according a recent press release.
Mission Kids, Montgomery County’s first and only child advocacy center, is a local non-profit that provides support for victims of child abuse. DA Ferman is one of ten honorees from across the country that will be recognized for her dedication to philanthropy and passion for making a difference in her community.
“I am deeply honored to be selected as a L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth. This generous award will help Mission Kids protect and support children who have been abused. Just as importantly, I hope this national award will open a community dialogue about the reality of child abuse and the ways all of us can be involved in keeping kids safe in our own communities. It is truly a privilege to be among the company of these ten amazing women.”
As a prosecutor for nearly 20 years with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, Risa Vetri Ferman specialized in the prosecution of cases involving child abuse, sex crimes, domestic violence, and homicide. Beyond the physical and emotional scars inflicted upon child abuse victims by the perpetrators, Risa saw the additional trauma inflicted on these fragile children during the investigative process.
Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center
Victims that disclosed abuse were interviewed multiple times by various law enforcement, social services and medical professionals, often forced to repeatedly recount and relive their abuse. Seeing many victims unable or unwilling to testify in court, even at the expense of justice, Risa was determined to change the system and make a difference in the lives of these victims and their families.
As District Attorney, Risa used her unique role in the community to innovatively improve the ways children’s rights are protected. She co-founded two local non-profits that provide support for victims of child abuse: the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project (MCAP), which provides pro bono legal services for abused children, and Mission Kids, a child advocacy center that coordinates a multi-disciplinary team response to child abuse.
DA Ferman used her skills and experience to help change a system that historically caused additional damage to victims of child abuse, even as the legal and social services community tried so hard to help and protect the children and achieve justice. She believes that everyone has an obligation to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center helps abused children find their voices, sending them a powerful message that they matter, that what happened to them was wrong and not their fault, and that everything possible will be done to promote justice and support their healing.
In order to create Mission Kids, DA Ferman secured the cooperation of all of her county’s 52 police agencies as well as the Office of Children and Youth Services in the county. Today, as a result of her tireless efforts, every child abuse victim in the county comes to Mission Kids, a safe, child-friendly facility designed to make them as comfortable as possible while they report their abuse. The children speak to specially trained interviewers and only have to tell their stories one time. Through Mission Kids, all of the professionals who respond to child abuse cases – law enforcement, social services, prosecutors, victims’ advocates, medical and mental health personnel – collaborate to ease the criminal justice process for the child. The goal is to help each child victim begin the healing process sooner, while improving the efficiency, quality, and effectiveness of every investigation.
In addition, Mission Kids’ outreach and education efforts increase public awareness of the nature and prevalence of child abuse, and empower adults in the community to reduce the risk of abuse and react appropriately to signs of abuse, keeping other children safe.
Vote for the “Women of Worth” National Honoree
Public online voting for the Women of Worth National Honoree is open from today (November 5th) through Wednesday, November 21st on womenofworth.com. Visitors to the site can vote once per day. The honoree with the most votes will be named the National Honoree and win $25,000 for her charity.
Voters can help Ferman win $25,000 for Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center by voting for her once a day from November 5th to November 21st and by spreading the word to your friends and family. Mission Kids is an extremely important resource to our community and, because it is non-profit, $25,000 would go a long way in allowing Mission Kids to continue to offer its indispensable services to protect and achieve justice for victims of child abuse.
More on the Women of Worth Program
The Women of Worth initiative, now in its seventh year, is inspired by L’Oréal Paris’ iconic brand philosophy, “Because You're Worth It.” Since its inception, the program has recognized 70 women for their outstanding devotion to their causes, with honorees embodying the spirit of the L’Oréal Paris brand through their commitment to their communities, their selflessness and their drive to make a difference in the world.
“The L’Oréal Paris family is incredibly proud to celebrate this year’s inspiring group of honorees,” said L’Oréal Paris President, Karen Fondu. “These amazing women represent our brand heritage and philosophy, “Because You’re Worth It,” by inspiring us all with their dedication and commitment to making a beautiful difference.”
For more information about the Women of Worth program, honoree bios and to vote for the 2012 Women of Worth National Honoree, please visit womenofworth.com.