A pediatrician who has dedicated her life to preventing child abuse and protecting children was honored this week by the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas. Executive Director Stacy Thompson said the award will go to Dr. Karen Farst for her career of service and support.
"She has been a practitioner for numerous years," Thompson said. "She currently serves on the National Children’s Alliance Board of Directors, and she is the first state-certified child abuse pediatrician."
Farst remarked that every honor is special, but this one stands out since it was her work with the Children’s Advocacy Centers that led her to choose her career path.
"I was in private practice when I started volunteering with a local Children’s Advocacy Center in Arkansas and it was really because of those experiences that I wound up pursuing extra training and then becoming a specialist as a child abuse pediatrician," the doctor recalled. "So, for that group to choose to honor me with the award just really kind of makes it extra special."
Farst received the award from Arkansas state Senator Percy Malone, the award’s namesake and first recipient. The ceremony was yesterday at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.
There are 13 Children’s Advocacy Centers across Arkansas. Thompson described them as community-based efforts to prevent child abuse and support victims with a multidisciplinary approach.
"The mental health, medical, prosecutorial, protective services, law enforcement, all come together, so that a child is able to tell their story one time, and one time only," she said of the Centers.
Last year, the CACs in Arkansas interviewed nearly 3700 children who were victims of abuse, neglect and maltreatment.