The Northeast Arkansas Children's Advocacy Center has a new home - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

The Northeast Arkansas Children's Advocacy Center has a new home

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Northeast Arkansas Children's Advocacy Center held an open house Monday for their new facility.

Supervisor with the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division Lea Ann Vanaman, says she knows from experience how vital an organization like the Children's Advocacy Center is to a child that has suffered from abuse. "It's sad that we have to have a facility like this," Vanaman said. "But we're very fortunate, here, in Jonesboro to have a facility that we can bring our kids to. It's a child friendly atmosphere and we're no longer interviewing kids in the back of a police car or on the front porch of their home or even in the home with the suspect, there, inside the home. We're now able to schedule appointments and bring the kids here to the Advocacy Center."

President of the Board Sue McDaniel says they're thrilled to be working out of this new facility. "This is a dream come true for us," McDanield said. "We never had any idea that we would ever be in this kind of facility at this stage of our development. This time last year, we were located in a small set of rooms at the services center. We were happy there, but all the sudden we got notice that we were being evicted because they were closing the services center. We had 90 days to get out. We started looking around and thought oh, my goodness. Where are we going to be? We were fortunate to locate this facility."

McDaniel says it was through a number of generous donations and a lot of hard work that they were able to get their new home up and running. "It was great, but everything had to be remodeled." McDainel said.  "It had been the side of another business and the rooms were totally not what we needed.  We were fortunate that a group of sub contractors were willing to donate their time, building supplies, materials. We had an architect who drew up the plans and it was so exciting because we ended up being able to be here and everything was totally donated."

The "Pinwheels for Prevention" Award was presented to Danny McDaniel, the President of Ramseys, Inc., for all his hard work and efforts in helping the Advocacy Center make their new facility a reality.

Vanaman says the Advocacy Center is an important resource they use to both them and the child they're trying to help. "The reports that we get come through the child abuse hotline that is manned by the Arkansas State Police," Vanaman said. "When a report come in it's either assigned to the Department of Human Services or to the Crimes Against Children Division. We do the most severe child abuse, the state police does. We bring the kids here to videotape the interview. Like I said, it's a child friendly atmosphere. We want to get the information. We want to know if something has happened to this child or if something didn't happen."

Vanaman says out of the reports they received last year, approximately 80% were reports for sexual abuse. McDaniel says the purpose of the Children's Advocacy Center is to keep the child from experiencing further trauma by being forced to tell their story over and over again.

"Child abuse is the hardest story a child will ever tell," McDaniel said. "But a Child's Advocacy Center is the best place for a child to tell this story because we provide a child friendly environment for the child that has been reported to be a victim of abuse. To have a forensic interview and hopefully just one interview."

The Northeast Arkansas Children's Advocacy Center helps all victims under the age of 18 in Northeast Arkansas. For more information about the Northeast Arkansas Children's Advocacy Center, log onto this website.

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