More funds needed to open child advocacy center | PostIndependent.com
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More funds needed to open child advocacy center

Artists rendering by architect Charles CunniffeRiver Bridge, a proposed child advocacy center for Garfield County, will be a modular building designed to look as much like home as possible. The center will provide a one-stop place for investigation of suspected child abuse where interviews and examinations take place in a child-friendly atmosphere.
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With a big push forward from Garfield County, a group that hopes to open a child advocacy center in Glenwood Springs is set to launch a major fundraising campaign.Earlier this month the county commissioners pledged $150,000 to River Bridge for the purchase of a modular building.The center would provide a central place where agency representatives, such as social workers and law enforcement officials, come together to investigate child abuse.The drive to raise money for the center is led by Joyce Bulifant-Perry, a former television actress and child advocate who lives in the valley. She has been instrumental in raising $14,000 for the center through the Carbondale/Aspen Glen Rotary Club.Bulifant-Perry hosted a kickoff luncheon recently that drew about 50 volunteers eager to help with the fundraising effort, she said.The center will make the process easier for children, she said. Now, children who are suspected victims of child abuse must be taken to the various agencies in surroundings that are not necessarily child-friendly, Bulifant-Perry said.Such a center would provide a “neutral, nonthreatening setting” for interviewing and examining victims of child physical and sexual abuse, said Garfield County Human Services director Lynn Renick.Coordination of law enforcement with the department of human services in investigating child abuse cases will provide “a better outcome for the victim,” she added.Renick said she plans to have two case workers trained in handling sexual abuse cases at the center when it opens in January 2007.Bulifant-Perry hopes to raise about $100,000 to furnish the center. Most expensive are the interview and medical exam rooms, which she said run about $52,000 each. Plans also call for a reception area and a playroom for children. The center would be staffed by one administrative assistant, she said.Bulifant-Perry is confident the money will come and will continue to support the center’s operation, because the need is great.”What’s important is that every 12 seconds a child abuse case is reported,” she said. “Every day three children die from child abuse and only one third of the cases get reported.”Donations to River Bridge can be made in care of the Roaring Fork Rotary Club Foundation, P.O. Box 426, Carbondale, CO 81623. Please specify that the donation is for River Bridge.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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