SMETHPORT — Tonia Hartzell has received the National Advocate Credential at the advanced level through the National Advocate Credentialing Program.

Hartzell has worked as the family advocate at the Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County (CACMC) since 2015. She has over a decade of experience working closely with both adult and child victims of crime while serving a key role on the CAC’s multidisciplinary team.

“I’m grateful for the opportunities to participate in trainings to meet the requirements

(for credentialing), but more so for the continued professional development in order to provide the best possible services to children & families throughout McKean County,” said Hartzell.

To achieve advanced advocate credentialing an individual must demonstrate a minimum of 15,600 hours (8 years) experience in advocacy; including completion of 40 hours Introductory advocacy training and a combined 40 hours of basic and advanced specialty training. Areas of training include domestic violence, adult and/or child sexual assault, child abuse, homicide, human trafficking, and systems or community-based victims services; to name a few. Credentialing offers many benefits to those in the victim assistance field, such as, enhanced recognition and credibility in the field, promotion and acknowledgement of standardized training expectations and encouragement of continuing education & professional growth.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County is a child focused program in which representatives from seven core disciplines work together as a multidisciplinary investigative team, conducting joint forensic interviews and making team decisions about the investigation, treatment and management of child abuse cases. The CACMC provides a child friendly environment where a child who has alleged abuse can receive services in a safe and supportive setting.

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