WJAC 6 News - Search Results
Child advocacy center now open in Centre Co.
Reported By: Gary Sinderson
Written By: Marc Stempka
BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- After years of work, and as the dust continues to settle in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, officials in Centre County have opened a new facility designed to help children who may be victims of sexual abuse.
The project to create a child advocacy center in the Centre region started just days after Jerry Sandusky was arrested in November 2011. He was later convicted. On Monday, county leaders and local officials gathered to showcase the new center.
Child Advocacy Center Director Kristin Taylor-Porter said the new site at the Mount Nittany Medical Center building in Bellefonte will help eliminate travel times to other similar facilities.
"Children were typically driving two hours or so to receive a forensic interview or medical exam," Taylor-Porter said. "So we're really lowering that travel time for the kids and it's really just going to provide enhanced healing."
The concept is to allow children who may be victims of sexual abuse to have a centralized location to meet with doctors, police and counselors who may be able to help them.
Similar centers are being developed nationwide and sites in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have proven to be successful, with an increase in prosecution rates in child sex abuse cases.
"[We're going to be] able to interview children in a child-friendly space and then also being able to provide mental health and medical services as well," Taylor-Porter said.
When first developed, the center price tag was close to $2 million, but MNMC donated the office space in their facility. The center will open next week.