Lauren Patterson is a child sexual abuse investigator for the Department of Human Resources in Madison County. Her dedication to the children in this community and the respect she garners from her colleagues make her the perfect Superhero to represent the DHR branch of the Madison County Multidisciplinary Team.
Lauren began her career in Madison County 13 years ago, but she says her passion for helping children started when she was still a child. Lauren worked as a camp counselor beginning at the age of 16. The first year on the job, a child at that camp told Lauren she was the victim of sexual abuse. Lauren blinked back tears, recalling the pivotal moment. This disclosure changed everything and confirmed what Lauren already knew – she wanted to be a helper.
Lauren takes on some of the most challenging cases in Madison County. She spends her days and nights making sure children are safe, bringing a sense of calm into chaotic scenes. She ensures the child is fed, clothed, and has a place to sleep where they are safe from harm.
Lauren accompanies the child to the National Children’s Advocacy Center, where the forensic interview happens, allowing the child to tell their truth and receive counseling. But her job doesn’t end there. Lauren holds the child’s hand as the case works through the criminal justice system.
She’s there when the child faces down their abuser in court. She’s also there when cases don’t end in a guilty plea or verdict.
Lauren often ends up comforting the child’s family members – those who wish they’d seen something, noticed the abuse, or felt responsible. “It’s not your fault,” she tells them. Lauren embodies compassion and encouragement desperately needed during a difficult time.
Lauren says the work is challenging and can take a toll but having coping activities and a team’s support makes it possible to keep doing the job.
The person who nominated Lauren said, “Lauren is admired by her colleagues for her integrity and work ethic. Her knowledge, dedication, and commitment to helping protect children make her a Community Superhero.” The tenacity, compassion, and strength shown by Lauren and her fellow DHR child sexual abuse investigators make them heroes to us all.
Our July Superhero is presented by Morris King & Hodge.
Do you know a hero in our community? Nominate them today!