Anti-child abuse volunteers saluted

Thu Apr 28, 2016

Eve Britton

BRISTOL — The recipients of Thursday night’s Child Abuse Prevention Awards, both admitted they were a bit surprised to be singled out when there are so many people doing good works for the Parent & Child Center.

Michael A. Jones and Dr. William Petit both looked to center director Kimberly Carmelich for guidance.

Carmelich laughed and said it’s her staff’s dedication to ensuring families have more than just a chance a happiness. She added that the two award-winners not only contributed to the cause, but “they get it. They get what we do.”

The CAP Award stands for child abuse protection advocacy in the community, specifically to prevent child abuse.

“I have a passion for what I do — helping families, not judging them,” said Jones, a Department of Children and Families investigator based in New Britain. “We’ve collaborated together, created goals together to help families, many of them poor, and get them to understand what they need to do.”

Jones said that the center goes above and beyond what is mandated by state regulations in getting help to families.

“Kudos to them,” he said, smiling at Carmelich at Thursday night’s awards ceremony.

“I’ve got a MBA and a MSW, but I choose to do this work rather than follow the paycheck,” he added. “I just love it.” Petit, president of the Petit Family Foundation and father of a 29-month-old son “who is on the move all the time,” said the foundation has been working with the center for at least seven years.

“They’re a great group to support,” he said watching his son dart out of the dining room doors, then chasing after him. “They’re home grown and low cost,” he said smiling, with his son, William, in tow.

“Seriously, I appreciate the recognition for the foundation, but it should mostly go to the people on the front lines,” he said. “They’re the ones who are struggling with the hard work, showing up every day to fight the battle for the kids.” The Parent & Child Center of Bristol Hospital is also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

“It’s very exciting. We’ve grown so much over the years,” Carmelich said. “We change what we do depending on what’s going on in the community. We shift our focus to meet the needs and we’ll continue to do that.”