WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.– Non-Profit agencies in Forsyth County have joined together to help raise more than $250,000 for the county’s Child Advocacy Center, after The Governor’s Crime Commission announced it was cutting the center’s funding.
Family Services Inc., operates the Child Advocacy Center which is a one-stop, kid-friendly place where therapists can meet with young victims of sexual and physical abuse. The therapists also help conduct forensic interviews and record them for law enforcement.
Without the state funding, all three positions at the center are in jeopardy. They could have hours cut or be eliminated. Children would have to be interviewed in basic law enforcement settings.
“These are critical facilities that are in jeopardy of getting lost right now. Without them, those interviews unfortunately would be conducted down at the police department where it’s not a child friendly environment, in cold room with table and chairs while asking a 6-year-old to talk about some personal and private things that happened,” said Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill.
Bob Feikema, President of Forsyth Family Services said his agency is accepting private donations to keep the center open, because he feels the center is crucial in helping children and stopping abusers.
“The availability of our forensic interviewer is going to be limited and that means at most critical time when a child has come in and maybe is talking for first time about abuse we don’t have the ability to provide child therapy,” said Feikema who calls these cuts “the unkindest of them all.”
Centers in Alamance, Guilford and Rockingham County have also lost state funding.
To find out ways to donate or more about the center in Forsyth visit http://www.fsifamily.org/vantagepoint.cfm