Funding at stake for child advocacy centers

Published 07/10 2014 05:26PM

Updated 07/10 2014 06:55PM

There's a lot at stake for the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center. Just last year, they served 313 new children.  And last month alone, they received 51 new referrals from law enforcement and social workers. 

"When funding is not received, from a federal level or any level, that just means that many children will go without the necessary services that they need to begin their healing process when they go through some sort of abuse," said Southeast Alabama CAC Community Outreach Manager Jessica Goolsby.

The Victims of Child Abuse Act provides federal support for child advocacy centers like this one.

But the law hasn't been reauthorized for nearly 10 years due to budget cuts.   The Southeast Alabama CAC needed $600,000.00 to operate last year, and they relied on the government for a large portion of it.

"Anytime funding is not received, or it's cut, which we've seen a lot of that, that trickledown effect with the economy, we really have to ramp up our fundraising and the things that we do. We have to make up for those services," Goolsby said.

But Senator Jeff Sessions and other congressmen are working to make sure funding is available.  He said in a news release that "reauthorizing the bill would modestly increase support available for children's advocacy centers, for the first time since 1990.”  He also said it would help centers “keep up with growing demands for services and improve training programs."

"We're always on guard and always encouraging our legislation to pass those bills for us, and for not necessarily for us, but for the kids.  It's all about the children,” Goolsby said.

Under the bill, the Department of Justice will perform audits to make sure all grant funds are being used properly. The bill is now in the hands of the House of Representatives.

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