Child Advocacy Center a Safe Place for Abuse Investigations
By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
Protecting the most vulnerable, a local organization raises funds to advocate for children who have been abused.
The trauma of child abuse and neglect makes it a tough crime to investigate, but a local center is committed to being a safe place for those kids.
The Child Advocacy Center serves 11 local counties. Kids are interviewed one on one, while authorities watch from another room.
There's also a medical exam room for sexual assault investigations, so kids don't have to go to the hospital, and sit in a public waiting room.
The costs add up for each case.
The center's director, Brady Kerkman said, "It costs about $1,000 an interview. So if you take February, there's $36,000 and 26 in March that's $26,000 in addition to our regular overhead costs, so these funds are greatly needed."
And it's a difficult organization to raise money for.
Kerkman said, "We are serving a population, a need of abuse and neglect, unfortunately it is an unnerving topic of conversation that people don't like to address and have that mentality out of sight, out of mind. We have that extra challenge."
April is child abuse month. Kerkman said Nebraska is a state where everyone is required to report suspected abuse and neglect, and not stand by quietly.
He said, "One of the things that leads to abuse is actually the silence. When people are not aware or observant, that only leads to the abuse to continue."
The Child Advocacy Center moved into a new office that was renovated for them, with reduced rent thanks to property developer Ray O'Connor.
They're asking the community to help them raise more money. Anderson Ford in Grand Island is donating for everyone who tests drives a car this Saturday.
They could raise up to $10,000 for the cause. All folks need to do is test drive a car that day.