Lynne McLean has dedicated her life and career to helping children who have been victims of abuse or neglect. She started her career on the front lines with abused and neglected kids as a Child Protective Service (CPS) caseworker in Dallas. A graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, she has put her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work to good use over the last 37 years while working in public service. Lynne is currently the CEO of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County (CACCC).
Lynne and I met a couple years ago when I first toured the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), then worked together on the board of directors for the CACCC. Since then, I have had the pleasure of knowing, respecting and personally liking Lynne. Having been with the CACCC for almost 10 years, she leads an amazing group of dedicated individuals all committed to assisting 100 percent of the kids who need their services in Collin County, Texas.
It’s interesting to note: in the last dozen years, the joint-service team, which includes forensic interviewers, family advocates, Child Protective Services, the district attorney’s office, therapists and the police, has accomplished some stunning statistics:
- 100 percent of victims of child abuse and neglect in Collin County are offered services
- 98 percent conviction rate of child abusers in Collin County
- 24,185 prison years and 102 life sentences for abusers
- Services provided for more that 3,500 children & non-offending family members each year
- 14,000 therapy services provide annually
- 10,000 children and 2,000 adults receive prevention education each year
Bringing safety, healing and justice to Collin County is a team effort by the CACCC. bloomfield knoble supports their initiatives through our own creative marketing and advertising skills. Our work assisted in their successful 2018 Gala, bringing awareness and information to the residents of the county.
Luann Boggs (Q): What does the CACCC do? How do they fill the void in the government services for abused and neglected children?
Lynne McLean (LM): “Each year, more than 5,000 reports of abuse or neglect are made here in Collin County. We provide critical services for children victimized by abuse or neglect in our community, free of charge. The CAC is the only agency in Collin County offering the needed services for these children under one roof and we do so because our community’s children deserve the best childhood possible.”
Please view the video bk produced for the CACCC 2018 Gala for more information about the amazing work the CACCC provides for children.
Q: What is the mission of the CACCC?
LM: “Our mission is to provide safety, healing and justice for all children victimized by abuse or neglect in our community.”
Q: How many full-time employees does the CACCC have? Who fits into this category of employees?
LM: “Forty-nine employees that are non-government employees such as forensic interviewers, therapists, administrative staff, family advocates, community relations and education staff and child care specialists.”
Q: Who are in the local and state government employees who are housed with you at the Advocacy Center? How many are on-site?
LM: “There are an additional 175 people who help abused children in such roles as: Child Protection Services caseworkers, police, lawyers in the district attorney’s office and physicians.”
Q: How many volunteers do you average working with the center in a year?
LM: “450 each year”
Q: Do you need more volunteers? What would they do?
LM: “There are so many ways the community can get involved. Such as: 1. Fundraising done through corporate or home events or community drives, helping with our big fundraising events like the Gala, Teddy Bear Ride and Healing Hearts Golf Tournament.
- Something thoughtful for the staff is always appreciated; our staff sees some of the saddest cases of abuse against children daily, so knowing that the community values them is huge. It really gives them a boost.
- Do a neighborhood or company drive to help in any number of ways, such as raising funds or supplies for the Rainbow Room, Back to School event and food and snacks for therapy sessions.
- Work in the Rainbow Room – the emergency supplies children and families need if they are relocated out of their home – by organizing items or, really, importantly, conducting drives for the Rainbow Room for new clothes, health and beauty aids, new shoes, school supplies and back packs.
- Work the Back to School event by conducting a drive for school supplies for the event.
- Volunteer in the child care area for siblings of abused children. We always need help there. Only specially trained staff work with the kids impacted by abuse.
- Offer to do volunteer administrative work. Our staff is very lean in order to spend our funds on the children.”
Q: How can people get involved?
LM: “Go to our website where you can find ideas and contact information: http://www.caccollincounty.org/get-involved/ ”
Q: Let’s talk about you and your role with the CACCC. What do you find rewarding in your job?
LM: “The power in the work we do to actually change the lives of children in a positive way. It’s a privilege to get to do this work everyday. I find the staff at the Children’s Advocacy Center so inspiring; they step up everyday to do heartbreaking work. And there is hope: kids and families do get better and it’s so rewarding to see that happen.”
Q: What do you find challenging in your job?
LM: “There is so much to this job that it’s always a challenge to see that the right amount of attention is paid to all aspects of the organization.”
Q: What accomplishments at the CAC are you most proud of?
LM: “The fact that the CAC of Collin County offers therapy for life. We start with abused children and help them break that cycle of abuse, so that they can be safe parents for their own children. We have kids who receive therapy as children, then return when they begin dating or get married and then again when they begin their own families. By providing support for these kids as they reach adulthood, we are hopeful that we are breaking the cycle of abuse. Nothing would make me happier than being put out of business because there is no more need for our services.
I am also proud of the fact that 100 percent of abused and neglected children in Collin County have the opportunity for the healing services we provide.
Another important part of our organization is the CAC Wellness Committee – this has been a surprising and really helpful project for the employees of the CAC. It’s a group that has done interesting and healthy things to help the staff that deals with healing children who’ve had horrific experiences. We’ve done fun things like yoga sessions, healthy food potlucks and classes on dealing with stress relief. Helping keep our staff healthy helps them better provide much needed services for the children.”
Q: What does the future hold for CACCC?
LM: “What keeps me up at night is the thinking about keeping up with the growth in Collin County and ensuring that NO CHILD is turned away because we don’t have the funds to help them. In order to do that we need to do three things:
- Stay abreast of new trends in managing abused and exploited children
- Ensuring that we stop the child trafficking that happens right now, and those kids fly under the radar in terms of seeking help
- Fighting child abuse that starts with cybercrime”
Q: What do you wish people knew about the CAC?
LM: “All cases in Collin County start at the Advocacy Center. We are a one-door-all-services-for-life center!”
Q: Let’s talk about how this job has impacted you personally. What surprised you about CACCC when you took the job as CEO?
LM: “How connected everybody is in Collin County. It’s a really surprising thing coming from the Dallas market. It’s an incredibly supportive county, with many of the same people who support our center also supporting the arts. It means that, in Collin County, the residents care about the entire community. That’s pretty unusual.”
Q: What do you wish people knew about you?
LM: “I am concerned about every case that walks through the door. And that even after 37 years in this business, some cases still bring me to tears. I am still surprised by how badly people can treat children. And the day that I don’t feel like crying for these children is the day I need to leave. Everyone associated with the CACCC feels the pain of the abused children in our community.”
Q: What advice would you give someone who wishes to move his or her career towards a CEO position at an advocacy center?
LM: “I guess I would tell anyone interested these things:
- Start your career on the front line.
- Become the best in each job you do.
- Pay attention to the good leaders and learn from them. Also pay attention to and learn from the bad supervisors. You will have some.
- Take extra responsibilities every step of the way.
- Follow through with anything you start, or let people know if you can’t deliver and why.
- Learn the balance of life between work and personal life.
- Build a network of supporters
- Continue to pursue personal balance throughout your career. This is important to stay healthy.
- Pursue outside interests; find passions outside of work. The younger you are when you learn, this the healthier you will be and will not burn out in a business that often shows you the dark side of humanity.”
Q: You said pursuing your passion and having a life balance are important. What do you continue to pursue to maintain your work-life balance?
LM: “I recently decided to learn to play the piano. I’ve wanted to do so since I was a child. I’m not good at it, but I work at it and really enjoy the process of learning and improving. I also ensure that I spend time with my family and friends. Staying connected to loved ones helps me stay positive. These things help me maintain a healthy outlook as we work towards eliminating child abuse and neglect – one case at a time.”
I’d like to say “Thank you” to Lynne for sharing with me some highlights of the amazing work the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County provides, and how passionate she and the entire staff are about helping the children of Collin County, Texas.
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