Lewis County Herald - Serving Hohenwald, Lewis County Tennessee Since 1898

By Katelin Carroll
Staff Reporter 

Meet the staff of Davis House

Series: Davis House | Story 1

April 16, 2020

At this point in the Davis House series, we have learned about who Davis House is and what they do for our communities.

For this week’s edition, we focused on the backbone of Davis House and what makes it a warm and friendly environment: the people who work there.

Three ladies care for the Hohenwald, Linden and Centerville areas. DeAnna Darden-Carroll is the Child and Family Advocate as well as a backup Forensic Interviewer, Lindsey Honea is the Child Forensic Interviewer and Prevention Outreach Provider, and Ronda Brown is the Clinical Therapist.

I asked our Davis House friends a few questions and their answers are listed below. None of their words have been edited, unless a bracket [ ] shows up to give context.

DeAnna Darden-Carroll,

Child and Family Advocate:

“Prior to coming to Davis House, I had worked in the fields of child safety and mental health.

“I was actively job hunting when the position with Davis House came open. I believe I was led to the job, and that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

“The most challenging aspect I have encountered has been dealing with families who are not supportive of their child.

“There are other frustrations with the job; the most frustrating being when a person cannot be held accountable for the harm they have done to a child because of the limits of the law, or the lack of evidence in a case.

“Making a difference [is the most rewarding]. A majority of the families we work with have never been down the roads they find themselves on.

“In my role, I explain the process while providing support to them and their child. I have opportunities to decrease fears, offer hope and sometimes, just be in the moment with someone that needs that.

“This job is by far the most rewarding I have had. I say I don’t really have a ‘job,’ but that I have a place I get to go and get paid for doing what I do there.

“I cannot pick one moment [as the most significant], as there have been several. I do believe some of the most impactful moments have been when I told a child victim that I believed them.

Sadly, there are parents who don’t believe their child, or who don’t want to believe their child because of how it may change their own life.”

Lindsey Honea, Forensic Interviewer and Prevention Outreach Provider:

“As a former teacher, I have seen firsthand how trauma has a major impact on children. I worked in elementary classrooms for five years and had to walk away.

“While working with children has always been a passion of mine, it was clear to me that the classroom wasn’t where I should be.

“About the time I left teaching, my friend, Aimee Alberd, had come to work with Davis House Child Advocacy Center as a forensic interviewer. She talked often of the work she did and it fascinated me.

“A lot of what I had seen in the classroom made more sense the more we spoke. She knew I was looking for something I could be passionate about, and when an opening for another forensic interviewer became available at Davis House CAC, she told me about it and I applied immediately.

“We’ve been trained that there is no perfect interview. It’s true, but that doesn’t always help when you leave an interview wondering if you did enough in the interview with that child to obtain all the information needed for the investigators working that case.

“Often children come for an interview and they’re nervous about that. It’s the unknown of it all.

“When I can visibly see a child begin to relax and open up while we’re talking, then I know at least in some way, I’ve made them feel safe and special, regardless of what we’re having to discuss.

“At Davis House, we offer families therapy and family support with our family advocate after the initial forensic interview.

“The families who continue to see us for those services, I get to see again. In that process, you can see the child and the family change.

“They are getting the help they need to deal with the trauma, and it makes my heart so glad to see them actually looking forward to coming to our center. That’s not always the case the first time we meet.”

Ronda Brown, Clinical Therapist:

“I began working  at Davis House on a part time basis (8 - 10 hours per week) at the Hohenwald location in 2015. Several months later, the Centerville office opened and I was able to increase my hours.  

“I left Davis House in 2017 but when the opportunity to return to Davis House in March 2020 was presented, I immediately pursued it because of what Davis House represents and provides for this community and surrounding areas.

“Of course there are challenges when talking about dealing with childhood abuse, however, we have a great team and that is crucial to get through the challenges.

“It’s also the reward of being able to help children and families get through very difficult situations that drives our team to work through various challenges.

“The most rewarding part is when a child is able to ‘find their voice’ and to tell their story which helps a child fully process their personal experiences, and no longer feel shame and guilt about what they’ve been through in life.

“An important piece of my job is helping families navigate through the trauma therapy and learn how to best support their child throughout the whole process and beyond.  

“To witness a child and caregiver connect in such a positive way that increases a child’s resiliency to heal from and overcome obstacles in life.”

Without a doubt, it is easy to see how these Davis House women have made an unthinkable and uncomfortable situation something that children and their families are able to process a little easier.

“The ladies I work with are amazing,” said Darden-Carroll, “They have the heart for the children they serve. They are also great support for me on the days that are a little harder than others.”


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