“The physical space at 306 Bradley St. has been renovated, and we’re getting close to an open house and ribbon cutting,” said Emily H. Cole, board chair for the group. “We’ve secured the site rent free and utility free for two years. It’s equipped with all the technology necessary for forensic interviews and a team of professionals has been trained in the needed protocol to conduct interviews according to the standards of the Georgia District Attorney’s office.”
Cole said the center will centralize all efforts in helping sexually and physically abused children by offering prevention, intervention, therapy and collaboration services, all at one site. She said the center will also recruit and coordinate more sites for supervised visitation for children and families.
“Currently, Carrollton Presbyterian is the only location which provides this service for Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties,” she added.
Cole said the final step to make the center a reality will be to hire a director to oversee day-to-day operations. She said that is a requirement for the center to become a member of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia, which is the accredited chapter of the National Children’s Alliance.
“New member applications are only accepted once annually,” she said. “The deadline for 2013 applications is Feb. 28.”
Prevention services will be through the national “Darkness to Light” program, which educates the public on how to prevent, recognize and appropriately respond to child sexual abuse. Nine trained facilitators are now available to serve Carroll County, and another three to serve Haralson County.
Intervention, therapy and collaboration will be provided in the new “child friendly” facility, with forensic evaluation given by a locally trained professional team. The center building will include a medical exam room, two forensic interview rooms and a monitoring room.
“This will provide us with a place where we can take victims of child abuse for interviews,” said Carrollton Police Chief Joel Richards. “Currently, we have to rely on outside agencies for this service, such as Scottish Rite in Atlanta or Twin Cedars in LaGrange. We will now have a place available immediately, instead of having to wait up to three weeks for the interviews.”
Richards said local people are being trained to do the interviews.
Cole said the center has raised about $25,000 in funds, but needs an additional $75,000 to begin operations.
The Carroll County Child Adocacy Center board of directors includes Cole and Richards, along with Andrea Chapman, Susan Fleck, Vickie Fulbright, Jan Gibbs, Charlene Harrod, Jill Hesterlee, Dustin Hightower, Shonda Jensen, Terry Langley, Bruce Lyon, Peter Maierhofer and Pete Skandalakis.
People wanting more information about the group can contact Cole at 770-328-4197, or by e-mail, email@example.com.