A Caring Place


About A Caring Place

We provide a unique and critical service to children who are victims or witnesses of abuse.  The center provides an interview room where children may comfortably talk to professionals while the interview is videotaped.  A medical examination room is available for those who have been sexually abused.  Any child under the age of 18 may interviewed or examined at A Caring Place at the request of law enforcement or the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services, Children Services Division.  In Jefferson County alone, nearly 100 children are seen at the center each year.

In 1995, community leaders of Jefferson County Child Protective Services, law enforcement, prosecution, medical and mental health professions joined as a team to help reduce the trauma a child often experiences when involved in investigations of abuse, more specifically sexual abuse. This team became known as the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT).

In 2002, the MDT was awarded a grant from the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) to establish A Caring Place.  The center is a child-friendly, home-like environment located on Route 43 in Wintersville, Ohio.  At the center, child victims/witnesses are interviewed and, if needed, given a physical exam by Dr. Stephen Mascio, our qualified physician.  We offer a comfortable environment for these professionals to be introduced to the child and family.

Since 2013 we have educated over 2000 people spread across 12 counties about human trafficking and specifically the sex trafficking of our youth. These audiences included, but were not limited to: school students, juvenile detention children,nursing and social work students, school and university faculty and staff, healthcare professionals, child welfare professionals, law enforcement, and court staff.

In addition, we have spearheaded the development and creation of The Jefferson County Human Trafficking Task Force which includes partnering with many pivotal agencies in our local area.

A Caring Place CAC's Staff and Board Members at 2018 Fundraising Dinner

A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center’s Staff and Board Members at our 2018 Fundraising Dinner


Marisa Bortz

Marisa is a passionate advocate for children and social justice. Before joining A Caring Place, Marisa was a Sexual Assault Victim’s Advocate at ALIVE Inc. in Steubenville, where she was awarded the 2017 Excellence in Advocacy Award from the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. She has also worked as a Medical Social Worker at Trinity Hospital, Intake Worker at Healthways, and Child Development Specialist at The Bradley Center. Marisa’s degree in Social Work is serving our community well.

Marisa attributes her initial passion for social justice to her childhood in Africa where her parents worked for the United Nations, and continues to advocate for others in honor of her 4 daughters and husband.

Family & Child Advocate/Educator

Eileen Spencer

Eileen has a degree in Mental Health and Human Services. Previously she was employed at Northern Southwest Mental Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a Community Residential Rehabilitation Counselor; she served as Director of Client Services at the AIM Women’s Center in Steubenville; and a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children in Brooke and Hancock Counties, West Virginia.

Eileen joined A Caring Place in 2013 to promote awareness about human trafficking in Jefferson County and surrounding areas.  She is also a family and child advocate supporting the child and their family when they arrive at the center. Eileen is also head of the Jefferson County Human Trafficking Task Force, a task force developed to provide services to a potential victim of human trafficking.

Board of Directors

Ann Dulany, President

Amy McDonnell, Vice President

Jesse Kosegi, Secretary

Eric Timmons, Treasurer

Michael Calabria, Member

Chantal Huff, Member

Helen Carrocci Child Advocacy Award

Helen Carrocci - childrens advocateThe Helen Carrocci Award was established in 2011 to honor the memory of Mrs. Helen Carrocci. As the first president of A Caring Place, Helen was a driving force in establishing Jefferson County’s first child advocacy center. In 1957, Helen embarked on her personal charge to serve our local youth as she started a Girls Scout and Brownie troop at St. Anthony’s Church in downtown Steubenville. Helen was later hired as a Jefferson County Sheriff Deputy in the 1980s, becoming the lead investigator in the county’s child abuse cases. Although she was just over five feet tall, Helen’s small stature was a “misunderstanding” when one was confronted by her towering tenacity in protecting the young of Jefferson County. She continued in this role for 10 years.

After retirement as a deputy, she remained active in her mission to protect children. In 1994 Helen volunteered in helping form and chair the county’s first multidisciplinary team (MDT). The MDT is the working group of professionals from the agencies that deal with child abuse.

From 2000 – 2005, Helen also voluntarily served as the vice-president and later as president of Jefferson County’s Children Services Board. She worked as president until the board’s responsibilities were later relinquished. Though her bones and muscles may have grown somewhat brittle over those years, the heart of her mission only burned more brightly through her efforts. She recruited enough support and raised community awareness to be a key instrumental piece in establishing A Caring Place in 2002.

Later on, as president of A Caring Place’s Board, Helen oversaw the center’s movement to becoming its own, nonprofit agency. Furthermore, Helen worked hard to contact others within the community and gain their support during those first “toddler” years as a center. Her work was highly effective in raising funds for the center to continue its services.

Helen was Helen, and if it were up to her, she wouldn’t have wished us to make such a fuss over her. For Helen, her reward was not earthly; her reward for all her suffering and sacrifices was that she had fully followed the burning mission of her heart to be an advocate for our children.

Award recipient qualifications:

• An individual, individuals, or an organization/agency
• 18 year old or older
• Whose work directly impacts Jefferson County
• A volunteer or professional who has made a major contribution (s) to the development and success of the Jefferson County Multi-Disciplinary Team, A Caring Place, and/or the children of Jefferson County
• Exhibits an unending commitment/mission to the welfare of children of Jefferson County, Ohio.

Award Process:

Recipients are nominated by members of a Carrocci Advocate of Children Award subcommittee, A Caring Place’s Board, and the Center’s Staff. The Board then forwards the nominations to Helen’s family who select the final Award recipient.

Award Recipients

2019  Frederick J. Abdalla Jr.

Fred is recognized for his endless and passionate commitment to the youth of Jefferson County. He is the Chief Probation Officer for the Jefferson County Juvenile Court and has been since 2005. He is a certified court manager and executive through the Supreme Court of Ohio. Fred goes the extra mile getting at-risk juveniles the services and/or programming they need to become successful young adults. Fred has also taken the lead to provide ALICE Training (Active Shooter) to the administration and teachers of Jefferson County schools. He has also implemented the summer youth program and community service program.

2018  Bobbyjon Bauman, Ohio Valley Youth Network

Once the Pastor of Starkdale Presbyterian Church, Bobbyjon currently ministers to the many Valley kids as president of the Ohio Valley Youth Network. He has been instrumental in advocating for our youth with events such as The Valley’s Got Talent, iServe Days of Community Service, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Sonshine Bible Club, to name a few. Bobbyjon’s encouraging spirit and tireless effort display his commitment to the development and welfare of the Ohio Valley’s childfren.

2017  Glenda Jones and Joe DeSantis, Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services, Children Services Division

Glenda is intake supervisor and Joe is ongoing supervisor of the Jefferson County Department of Job and Family Services, Children Services Division.

2016  Jean-Philippe Rigaud, Ohio Bureau for Criminal Investigation

A graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Jean-Philippe entered law enforcement in 1996. He quickly moved into the juvenile department and worked as an investigator for the Steubenville city police for 17 years and served on Jefferson County’s Multidisciplinary Team for Child Abuse. In 2013 he was promoted to the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau for Criminal Investigation and not long after was assigned to the Crimes Against Children’s Unit. His professionalism, compassion and strong sense of mercy have led our community through trying times and given victims hope for healing.

2015  Captain Susan Bell, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department

Captain Susan Bell has been a member of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department for over 20 years and was Helen Carracci’s hand-picked replacement when Helen left the department. Captain Bell has spent much of her law-enforcement career handling sexual abuse cases. She is also active in the Jefferson County multidisciplinary team (MDT), the working group of professionals from the agencies that deal with child abuse. Susan is an excellent investigator, does a very thorough job, and truly cares about the children involved.

2014  Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla

When Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, Jr., came into office, he changed the way local law enforcement responded to child abuse emergencies. He put children first and was a pioneer in making response to a child abuse call a priority in Jefferson County. In the 1980s he hired Helen Carrocci as a Deputy Sheriff and appointed her as the lead investigator in the county’s child abuse cases. Together they worked to build cooperation between the Sheriff’s department and Jefferson County’s Children Services. Today, all law enforcement agencies are as involved as Children Services and other agencies in their attempt to help children. Sheriff Fred Abdalla continues to advocate that we go all the way to ensure our children are safe.

2013  Starkdale Presbyterian Church

As Helen strove to be the kind hands and persistent feet of God in protecting our young people, we recognize the church body membership for their humble and generous efforts to continue the service to the youth of this community. In particular, we recognize their donation of time and resources to the Jefferson County Children’s Home, their yearly participation in the Pinwheels of Prevention, and the individual members’ commitment to helping maintain youth programs such as Big Brothers/Sisters.

2012  Mrs. MaryAnn Smoger Donnelly

MaryAnn Smoger Donnelly was selected for her many years of unfailing service to the children of Jefferson County, most especially those who have entered the walls of A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center. Moreover, the Award recognizes MaryAnn’s continuing the work of a Caring Place’s past president, Helen Carrocci, and of fully following the burning mission of her heart to be an advocate for our children.

2011  Dr. Stephen Mascio, MD

Dr. Steven Mascio was selected to receive the first Helen Carrocci award due to his heart in freely giving of himself to treat the children who come to our center. Dr. Mascio stood up for children in the midst of deserted interest from the local medical community. Area hospitals often refused to see suspect sexual abuse victims due to potential backlash for providing professional opinion during trial. Victims were commonly referred to distant hospitals even when parents may have no transportation or money to make the necessary trip. Yet Dr. Mascio freely and without contract or pay entered into an understanding with our new center to become an advocate for our children of suspected child abuse. He rose out of the ashes, where no one else would, to stand up for our children in a way that required training and expertise. He has often attended training on his own time and expense, and continues to be a consistent financial donor to our work and mission at A Caring Place.

Copyright 2011-2019 A Caring Place
Phone: 740-266-3988 • PO Box 2335 • Wintersville, OH 43953

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