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New Kosair Charities Child Advocacy Center Opens

100_6385LOUISVILLE, KY – On Friday, June 21, 2013 hundreds gathered at the new Kosair Charities Child Advocacy Center, at 1000 S. Fifth Street, for the official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony. Last year, more than 1,400 children who reported sexual abuse came to Family & Children’s Place seeking help from advocates who helped the children work with police and get counseling. Now, those children will come to the newly opened Kosair Charities Child Advocacy Center — where police, advocates, medical personnel, state social workers and county prosecutors are sharing space to make the process of reporting abuse seamless and less traumatic for children.

“When the abuse is reported, it’s probably the most terrifying time in (a child’s) life,” said Dan Fox, CEO of Family & Children’s Place.

After three years, and much hard work, $7 million had been raised by Family and Children’s Place and the agency broke ground in June 2012.

The advocacy building incorporates soothing colors and artwork with small hand prints in the design. Families are quickly moved into individual rooms for privacy and quiet conversations with staff. Fox said four to seven children come to the advocacy center daily. And the new building affords them a better experience when they are vulnerable.

Social workers from the center meet individually with each child in a special room equipped with videotaping equipment. In a separate room, police, prosecutors and others involved in the case watch the interviews so the child only has to tell his or her story once. “It cuts down on them having to relive it over and over again,” said Becky League, who supervises the forensic interview process for the center.

League said it is particularly helpful to have police in the same building to consult with on cases during interviews. Lt. Thomas Dreher, who leads the Louisville Metro Police Crimes Against Children Unit, said the new space is a vast improvement from the former warehouse space police used at Seventh Street and Industry Road. “Now it’s just a matter of walking down the hall,” Dreher said. Twenty sworn detectives work out of the Child Advocacy Center, with officers available throughout the week to handle cases. Dreher said he’s been hoping for a combined facility since he joined the Crimes Against Children Unit in 2001.

The new facility is on a campus that also includes the main offices for Family & Children’s Place, providing programming for first-time parents, homeless families and others.

Read more about the Kosair Charities Child Advocacy Center here.