Liz Widrick, LMSW
Liz Widrick, LMSW, who holds a Master’s Degree from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, joins the CAC as a staff therapist. Widrick previously worked at Mountain View Prevention Services in Lowville where she served as a youth advocate to middle and high school students in Lewis County. Widrick provided at risk students with coping skills, mentorship, and stability while at school with a goal of lowering their risk of future substance abuse or dangerous behavior.
A native of Beaver Falls, NY, Widrick pursued a career in therapy to fulfill her passion for helping others. “I enjoy this work,” said Widrick. “It allows me to use my compassion for others in a way that leads to their self-discovery and empowerment. This is especially true having clients who are children. When I noticed there was an opening at the CAC I was excited about the chance of working there.”
Upon her first visit Widrick realized that the CAC would be a perfect fit for her.
“I immediately noticed that the CAC was very kid-friendly with lots of colorful artwork and a waiting room that suits families,” said Widrick. “What impressed me most was the way the CAC is available for kids who've undergone trauma through every step of the process. There are parent groups, child groups, community outreach services, forensic interviews, case management to help meet needs, and advocacy to help with the legal process. It’s much more than individual therapy. The CAC is a growing organization working with many partners to achieve one goal…helping children recover and heal from trauma. I knew the CAC is where I wanted to be.”
In addition to providing individual counseling Widrick will be involved in a number of tasks at the CAC including; facilitating therapy groups, connecting clients to resources, advocating for clients and working closely with members of the CAC’s Multi-Disciplinary Team as they investigate and cases of child abuse.
It's amazing to just be a part of the CAC,” added Widrick. “There is a lot of healing that goes on here. It is impressive how engaged clients are and how hard they work through thoughts and feelings that are unpleasant. It's not easy to process through trauma but I have a deep understanding of grief and have always had the ability to meet people in their dark moments. The CAC is a place that offers support for families by coming alongside them every step of the way. I consider myself fortunate to be a member of the CAC staff and I'm thankful for people who let me into their lives and allow me to be a small part of their amazing stories.”
“I’m very happy to welcome Liz to our staff,” said Damm. “She is totally immersed in her work as a therapist, she is engaging, and an excellent fit to the team. Our clients are very comfortable with Liz and her dedication to helping others will service her well in this position.”
Melinda Fatiga, LPH, MHC
Melinda Fatiga, who holds a certificate of advanced study in school counseling service and a Bachelor of Arts degree in public justice, recently graduated from SUNY Oswego with a Master’ degree in mental health counseling. Fatiga discovered the CAC while searching for an internship.
“During my master’s program a professor recommended the CAC,” said Fatiga. “It was just what I was looking for. The CAC gave me the opportunity to use my counseling skills and I enjoy working with children. It’s important to build their resiliency and help them process their trauma in a healthy way.”
As a mental health counselor Fatiga will work closely with children and their families. She will provide support and therapeutic interventions regarding all types of trauma and their effects, as well as safety and prevention education.
“Our mental health counselors play a key role in our clients healing process,” said Damm. “Melinda’s past experience and familiarity with the CAC makes her a wonderful addition to our staff. She was a wonderful addition to the team as an intern and we are thrilled to be her first choice in her career path.”
Fatiga will also be working closely with the CAC’s Multi-Disciplinary Team, a collaborative that includes a cross section of law enforcement investigators, child protective services, medical providers, therapeutic professionals, victim support professionals, and the district attorney’s office. The team maintains a well-coordinated, effective approach to child abuse investigation and prosecution, and service provision designed to reduce the trauma to children and respective family members undergoing investigation of child sexual and physical abuse.
“I’m fortunate to be able to work at the CAC,” added Fatiga. “Childhood trauma happens much more than people would like to believe. Having an entire agency dedicated to treating the trauma is an important resource for the county. It’s rewarding to know that through my work at the CAC I am able to help children achieve their goals and accompany them on they their journey to healing and recovery.”
Located at 163 South First Street in Fulton, the CAC is a non-profit organization that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, mental health providers, and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve child victims of sexual and physical abuse. The CAC also has a satellite office located at 3850 State Route 13 in Pulaski. For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County you may contact them at 315-592-4453 or visit www.oswegocac.org.