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Grant Money to Help Fund a Child Advocacy Center Coordinator
MONROE - The Wisconsin Department of Justice, Office of Crime Victim Services has awarded the Green County District Attorney's Office a $15,500 grant to be used to help fund part of a child advocacy center coordinator position. The award is made possible through a grant from the Children's Justice Act (CJA) program.
The Wisconsin Children's Justice Act grant program is committed to improving the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and neglect. The program encourages county childcare professionals to work together to streamline the investigative process so that children who are victims of a crime are not further traumatized. Often, this is done by bringing together a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement and social service agencies who work together from the start of an investigation.
CJA grant funds can also be used to train law enforcement officers and social workers on how to conduct forensic interviews of children. Forensic interviews provide a number of advantages. They allow for the child to be interviewed once rather than repeatedly by numerous agencies. The interviews are taped and can be used in preliminary court proceedings, rather than having to have the child testify in a courtroom on multiple occasions.
"Children's Advocacy Centers bring together representatives of multiple disciplines to make the right, child-focused, decisions in crimes against children cases," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "I am pleased the Wisconsin Department of Justice can support these important programs that protect child victims."
The Green County Abuse Prevention Team began working on the child advocacy center project in 2006. The team has received a great deal of community support. The local hospital donated space, a local foundation provided funding, and other Green County agencies have donated items to the center.
Prior to the opening of the child advocacy center, child abuse and neglect victims were transported to neighboring counties for forensic interviews. The ability to conduct these interviews at the new child advocacy center has improved coordination of child maltreatment cases in Green County.