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A dedicated group of folks in the valley has launched a campaign to open a child advocacy center in Glenwood Springs. And there already has been a healthy financial response. The Garfield County Commissioners recently promised $150,000 for a modular building to house the center. Members of the Carbondale/Aspen Glen Rotary Club have raised more than $14,000 to furnish and staff the facility.The center would be a one-stop place for child-aged victims of physical and sexual abuse to be interviewed and examined by professionals in a child-friendly atmosphere. Now, children suspected of being abused must pass through the offices of a series of investigators, from law enforcement to social services. Some children must travel to either Grand Junction or Denver for an evidence-gathering medical exam.River Bridge, as the center is dubbed, will bring all the experts and investigators to one place where kids can feel safe and get the best care. Creating a safe and caring atmosphere for children who have been traumatized is tremendously beneficial.There are several questions that come to mind: Why is it necessary? Does Garfield County have a large enough problem with child abuse to justify such a center?The county human services people say we don’t have higher-than-average incidents of child abuse. The national statistics are illuminating, however. According to Joyce Bulifant-Perry, who is spearheading the child advocate and center fundraiser, a child abuse case is reported every 12 seconds. Every day three children die from child abuse.If we can ease the trauma of physical or sexual abuse for a child, whether it’s one or hundreds, it’s worth it.Bulifant-Perry and her group of supporters are looking to raise about $100,000 to furnish the building and pay an administrative assistant. They’re confident they can keep the money rolling in to keep the center open.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.It’s unfortunate that such a facility is needed anywhere, but it’s better to have a facility when these cases do surface.Helping children and easing their pain are why we should all support this project.
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