Center awarded $64k

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded a $63,921 grant to the Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center to provide specialized support services for abused children.

The funding will help the center to continue providing investigative interviews, counseling and advocacy services to child abuse victims and family members determined not to have been involved in the abuse. The center serves Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe counties.

“Professional, caring assistance is vital in helping a child recover from the trauma of abuse,” Bentley said. “I commend the Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center for providing the support that is so important in the lives of the children they serve.”

The model for children’s advocacy centers began in Huntsville and is designed to provide a safe place for children to tell their stories. The interviews can be recorded, alleviating the need for a child to recall the events of the abuse multiple times at various agencies.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Justice. ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation.

“ADECA partners with the Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center and similar centers around the state to ensure that free, professional help is available for children and their families year-round,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. “These organizations play a vital role in helping survivors recover from abuse.”

Along with grants, the agency relies on local, private donations to ensure services remain available to victims.

Bentley notified Stephen Billy, chairman of the center’s board, that the grant had been approved.