Citizen's Spotlight: Irene Malfregeot - Child Advocate

Name: Irene Malfregeot

Age : 28 years old

Family: My amazing husband, Michael, and two very spoiled cats, Trinity and Harper.

Hobbies: Cooking!  Then, to add some balance, running, hiking and skiing.

What qualities of your mother/father influenced you the most? My parents taught me to be open-minded, kind and generous.  They tried to teach me patience, but that never seemed to take.

What is the best piece of advice you ever got?  Our greatest moments of growth come from our greatest moments of discomfort.

Occupation: Executive Director of the Harrison County Child Advocacy Center (CAC)

What does your organization do and what area does it cover? The CAC coordinates and provides services to allow sexually abused children and their families to seek justice and heal.  We also provide sexual abuse prevention training in the community.

What is the most difficult part of being in your field?  Knowing there are families in our community that are too scared or don’t know how to seek help.

What types of calls/incidents do you see increasing around here the most?  We continue to see an increase in child abuse cases.  I like to believe it isn’t the abuse rate that is increasing, but, instead, that more people are willing to step up and report suspicions of abuse.

What is the biggest risk you see facing kids today?  Technology and the Internet can be the biggest benefit and the biggest risk facing kids today. 

What advice would you give parents?  Communicate openly with your kids.  Talk about everything.  If you’re embarrassed to talk about body safety and sex, they will be embarrassed to come to you if they ever have a problem.

What advice would you give our readers?  Go above and beyond for children every opportunity you get.  They are the best investment you will ever make.

Is there anything else you would want to add?  The CAC partners with law enforcement, Child Protective Services, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, HOPE, mental health and medical professionals.  Harrison County is lucky to have such dedicated individuals working hard every day to protect children.