Children’s Advocacy Center of Southeastern Indiana
The CACSEI receives Grant Funds to Move to a Better Location
In the midst of pain and tragedy, somehow there are always bright spots. As Mr. Rogers reminded us, it is in such times that we must “look for the helpers.” Child Advocacy Centers across the nation are staffed with such helpers, and we have three children’s advocacy centers here in southeast Indiana.
Bethany Legacy Foundation is honored to have been able to provide the matching-funds grant that paved the way for The Children’s Advocacy Center in Madison to receive a federal Community Development Block Grant for $500,000. These combined grant awards will allow the CACSEI to move from their current location in the Clearinghouse to a building in historic downtown Madison. The building at 601 W. Street will be renovated not only to meet their needs but to fulfill some of the requirements for National Children’s Alliance accreditation that were prohibitive in their current location.
How Child Advocacy Centers Help the Most Vulnerable
The Children’s Advocacy Center helps children who have been abused or assaulted or witnessed a disturbing event. Their mission is to help children heal and to seek justice after such an allegation of abuse, neglect, or assault. Their website states, “CACSEI is a place where multiple agencies come together with one goal in mind: to provide security, justice and healing for abused children and their non-offending family members. Now when a child has had an experience that needs to be reported, there’s a safe and supportive place to talk one-on-one with a trained individual in a single interview.” Conducted by a specially-trained forensic interviewer, the affected child’s story is audio and video recorded so that children–who in the past may have had to tell the story of abuse or an assault multiple times to school therapists, doctors, lawyers, and in court–now have to share what happened to them just once in a secure, safe, and neutral environment. The single-interview model allows these children to begin to heal sooner.
How This Move Will Benefit The Children in our Community
Central to the philosophy of a CAC is providing this private and comfortable environment in which the children can tell what they experienced or witnessed. Due to its housing of several agencies, the current location in the Clearinghouse of Jefferson County lacks the privacy needed by these children and families. It also has a more clinical feel, which doesn’t match the intention of an advocacy center.
With the move to West Street comes a more private parking area in a less busy part of town, a back entrance, and once inside, a home-like setting with comfortable chairs and interactive toys to put the child at ease. Adapting the historic building to these needs involves some renovations, which are now underway. Soon when children are referred to the CAC by police or Children’s Services, they will have a more comforting and inviting place to tell their story and begin their healing journey.
Executive Director of CACSEI, Kelli Jette adds that the grant will also allow the center to have a permanent staff. She says she is so very thankful for the grant money from Bethany Legacy because “without it, we could not have been eligible for the Community Block Grant Funds.”
Another Important Way the CACSEI Serves Our Community
In addition to minimizing the trauma of an assault or abuse, The Children’s Advocacy Center also seeks to educate through prevention education for adults and children. To learn more about how you or your loved ones can experience and learn from this programming, visit cacsoutheast.org/education. To report child abuse, call 911 or the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.