Where silence ends + healing begins
Historically, child abuse victims were required to tell their story multiple times to different agencies, forcing children to relive their traumatic experiences, often creating additional stress and anxiety for the child and their family. River Bridge Regional Center is a child-friendly facility where a multidisciplinary team coordinates to work with children and their families, and uses the collective knowledge and expertise of the team to improve the response and investigation to child abuse allegations.
River Bridge is a cottage-style center that enhances children’ s sense of safety and comfort while helping to lower anxiety. The center is designed to reduce stress on child abuse survivors and to improve the effectiveness of the response to child abuse allegations. We are making a significant, positive difference in the lives of children and families in Eagle, Garfield, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco Counties. We also serve surrounding counties and communities when the need arises.
River Bridge provides collaborative services to child abuse victims, their families, and the community in a supportive environment through a child-centered approach.
A community where children are safe, families are strong, and where all abused children are believed, supported and able to heal.
Family AdvocacyA specially trained family advocate serves as each family's guide and safety net during the most vulnerable time, keeping them fully informed about the process of the response, resources available to them, and ensuring their needs are met along the way. The family advocate provides services to children and non-offending caregivers of children served at River Bridge. Our family advocate is with the family from the moment they walk through the doors at River Bridge until their case has concluded.
Medical CareChildren may also receive a specialized medical exam or consultation from our Pediatric Medical Provider. The overall purpose of the medical evaluation is to ensure the health and well-being of the children we serve. We offer medical care to address any medical needs or questions and to gather possible evidence of physical abuse and/or sexual assault.
Forensic InterviewsForensic Interviews are conducted for children when there are allegations of maltreatment or when a child has witnessed or been a victim of a crime. These interviews are neutral and fact-finding. They are important to the investigation and prosecution of crimes against children. Within a neutral, child-friendly, warm and welcoming environment, our Forensic Interviewers interact with each child, asking them developmentally appropriate, non-leading questions. This allows for the child to share their experience and to provide information in a neutral setting. The forensic interviewers are highly trained professionals with an advanced understanding of child development, memory, suggestibility, linguistics, and trauma. The goal of the Forensic Interview is fact-finding.
Multidisciplinary TeamTogether, RBRC works with, Law enforcement, Child protective services, Prosecution, Medical, Mental Healt, Victim Advocacy, Children’ s Advocacy Center. This team collaborates from the point of report and throughout a child and family’ s involvement with the CAC. MDTs coordinate investigations and service delivery to mitigate potential trauma to children and families, to keep open the lines of communication and maintain transparency and foster trust, and to help optimize a quality response overall, while preserving and respecting the rights of the clients, and the mandates and obligations of each agency.
Mental HealthOur Mental Health Therapist provides assessments, individual or family counseling, and referrals to other therapists, for child abuse survivors and their non-offending family members. Therapy helps to address, process and recover from these painful experiences. Mental health assistance may also include preparation for court testimony, as well as teen and parent support groups. Our mental health response uses developmentally appropriate techniques, trauma-informed assessment tools and evidenced-based practices to work with survivors and their families through the recovery process.
Child Abuse Prevention EducationThrough training and education, we are committed to preventing child abuse and neglect. River Bridge staff, board members, and multidisciplinary team provide training for parents, community groups, and professionals to raise awareness about child abuse, educate on child abuse prevention techniques, increase child self-protective skills, and teach trauma-informed care and response.
As the old cliché goes, you can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been.
River Bridge Regional Center (RBRC) first opened it’s doors to child abuse victims and their families in December 2007. Many community members, including actress/advocate Joyce Bulifant Perry, the Rotary Club of Carbondale — Aspen Glen (now known as the Mt. Sopris Rotary Club), Garfield County Sheriff LouVallario, Garfield County Commissioners, and many others, worked tirelessly to make this dream come true.
Child Advocacy Centers were not new (the movement began in the early 1990’ s) but the concept was new to our community. It took a lot of education, relationship building, and fundraising to make the Center a reality. The Rotary Club raised over $102,000 for the Center, the Garfield County Commissioners agreed to build a $600,000 building at 520 21st Street, behind the Public Health Administration building, and the national non-profit organization Child Help offered to provide the administration for the program. The Child Help River Bridge Center (fka) opened its doors in December 2007 with a Director and a Victim Advocate on staff offering services for child abuse victims and non-offending family members in Garfield County. We soon expanded to serve Eagle, Pitkin, and Rio Blanco counties.
In 2012, the local board determined that RBRC needed its own 501c3 status to provide services for the region, which was awarded September 2012. RBRC earned its accreditation with National Children’s Alliance, a nationwide not-for-profit membership organization, in October 2010, was re-accredited in October 2015 and in 2020. During the 2015 reaccreditation process, it was revealed that RBRC was growing out of its current space at 520 21st Street. The Garfield County Commissioners approved a purchase to provide us with a second facility. Our additional location at 504 21st Street opened its doors January 2018 and houses our medical and mental health services as well as all trainings and meetings. In 2018, RBRC embarked on a 5-year campaign, Bridge to Their Futures, to fund the renovation of this second building, add staff and programs, and build a strong reserve to sustain the expanding organization.
Since RBRC’ s inception in 2007, the organization has served more than 2,853 children and their non-offending family members.
The Mountain West SANE Alliance. In 2012, the Roaring Fork Valley lost its SANE (Sexual Assault Nurses Examination) program, leaving the community vulnerable and victims of sexual assault having to travel to Grand Junction or Frisco to receive services. In 2016, a small group of dedicated professionals came together to reinstate the services that assault victims in our community require, forming Mountain West SANE Alliance (MWSA). On January 1, 2018, MWSA program, including the financials, administration and program management moved under the umbrella of the established RBRC agency in order to provide struture and sustainability for our community.
Since 2017, MWSA has responded to 254 calls from sexual assualt victims, providing specialized exams, care and treatment.