Sequim Gazette staff
After two years in the works, Healthy Families of Clallam County recently opened its Children’s Advocacy Center to create the local lifeline for child victims of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse and neglect.
The center features a child-friendly forensic interview room, a multi-disciplinary team room (for observation), and a family waiting room in Healthy Family’s facility at 1210 E. Front St., Suite C, Port Angeles.
Becca Korby, executive director of Healthy Families, said the additions create one place for law enforcement and support services to come together to minimize additional trauma to children and families.
“The focus of this program is to provide a safe and less-intimidating environment,” she said.
The facility opened April 18 and officials interviewed four children in its first week. Its open house was held May 18.
Korby said studies are reflecting that (Children’s Advocacy) programs are decreasing the trauma for children and increasing successful prosecution.
The center will partner with agencies such as the Sequim Police Department and Clallam County Sheriff’s Office to interview children. Officers can use the team room to speak to a health professional through an ear bud to make the experience less intimidating for children.
Funding for the audio/visual equipment and remodel came from national and state grants and local donations.
Korby attributes much of the agency’s grant success to board member Paul Byron Pattak, who happens to live in Alexandria, Va.
He said via Skype at the open house he’s written six grants worth about $420,000 since last year and received them all.
Korby said their next goal is to create a mobile child forensic interview room to travel across the county.
For more on the Children’s Advocacy Center and Healthy Families of Clallam County, call 452-3811 or visit www.healthyfam.org.