In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

April 2, 2015

A Friendly Face for Child Advocacy

By In the Loop

Hasbro is a pet therapy dog at the Mayo Clinic Child and Family Advocacy Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

The unofficial mascot of the Mayo Clinic Child and Family Advocacy Center in Rochester says something important about the center, all in one adorable, tail-wagging package. His name is Hasbro, and he's there to welcome children and families to the center, provide comfort and help kids relax during a difficult time. The center, which opened in 2012, provides a safe and child-friendly environment for children who may have experienced abuse and neglect. Hasbro's role is "to be available to reduce anxiety and stress" for kids who need the services of the program, says Arne Graff, M.D., its medical director.

"He's a Golden Doodle, so he thinks he's everybody's best friend," says Dr. Graff, who also is Hasbro's owner. "He loves it." And he's symbolic of the many things the center does to provide a safe and child-friendly environment. The center also has a multi-disciplinary team of medical child abuse experts, child protective services, victim advocates and mental health professionals, who work together to provide comprehensive services to help provide a safe place for children to allow the healing process to begin, according to program director Ellen Case. 

Dr. Graff with Hasbro, a pet therapy dog. And a few weeks back, they got some more help with that mission when Project Ignite Light donated backpacks filled with personal items that the kids can have for their own when they come to the center for an initial physical exam. "Each bag comes with a new pair of pajamas, blanket, book, flashlight, toy and toiletry items," Case tells us. Often, these children "have very little to call their own," she says. "The idea is to provide some light and hope for these kids. It may be things we take for granted, but it means a lot to these kids to have something of their own."

In recognition of April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the center, at 2720 North Broadway, will hold an open house on Tuesday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is designed to highlight the center as well as its full range of services, from inpatient to outpatient care, and consults 24 hours day for law enforcement, social services, and medical professionals within and outside of Mayo Clinic. And to raise awareness that "child abuse does exist in our region and our county, and we have a role to play in helping its victims," according to Dr. Graff. "And that care means helping to make the child safe." Guests will also get a chance to meet Hasbro. "He'll be on hand to greet everyone at the open house," says Case. And we're guessing she means everyone.

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Tags: child abuse, Child and Family Advocacy Center, Community, Dr. Arne Graff, Practice story

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