South Central Child Advocacy Center Now Serving Children
South Central Child Advocacy Center
A ribbon cutting in September 2011 opened the doors to the Child Advocacy Center’s satellite center in West Plains, Missouri. The center, designed to serve Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Texas, Wright and a portion of Shannon counties provides children, families and investigators a child advocacy center within convenient driving distance of their homes and offices. Until we opened the satellite, families were forced to drive up to 2.5 hours each way when a child needed the services of the Child Advocacy Center. Contrary to our mission, this was not a child-friendly experience. Parents were forced to take off a full day of work; children would miss an entire school-day and law enforcement officials were pulled from their communities for the better part of a day.
The SC CAC is located at 411 Garfield in the former Howell County Health Department building and has been busy since we opened its doors. The building’s central location, easy access, plentiful parking and convenient floor plan have made it an excellent choice for our satellite center. After leasing the building for a year and a half, we have now purchased it and are fundraising to pay off the loan. We recently received Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits (NAPs) to renovate the building and expect work to start this fall. It will be renovated in the wonderful style of our Springfield location. The center also has three, full-time employees – a Child Advocate, Forensic Interviewer and Medical Provider. After months of intensive training, our three new employees have taken over full-time operation of the SC CAC.
We cannot thank the West Plains and surrounding communities enough for helping turn the dream of a south central satellite into reality. Volunteers scraped, spackled and painted walls; contributed supplies; moved furniture; made cash donations towards children's toys and more. A law enforcement grant helped fund Forensic Interview equipment; a St. John's Force for Good grant funded exam room supplies and equipment. A Sherwin Williams employee in West Plains donated all the paint; a law firm donated a brand-new fax machine and Bank of America donated nearly ALL of the office furniture. This project has been a true labor of love on behalf of the children of south central Missouri!