Children's Advocacy Center
A Child Advocacy Center (CAC) uses a child-centered approach to support children who have been abused and help them recover from such a physical and emotional tragedy. A CAC is a safe, child and family-friendly space where kids come on a non-emergent basis for evaluation and treatment of abuse. This building is one place where all the parties looking out for the welfare of the child come to the child.
The advisory board for the Children’s Advocacy Center announced that it's one step closer to its vision with a facility and the addition of trained medical staff to its multidisciplinary team.
On Monday, January 28, the board for Mount Nittany Health and Mount Nittany Medical Center endorsed plans to use its facility on Medical Park Lane in Bellefonte for the Children’s Advocacy Center, as well as supporting the facility design and construction, and the training of its medical staff to provide treatment to children of abuse and/or neglect.
“I am very pleased with this step forward. It’s our responsibility as the region’s health leader to protect the most vulnerable and improve access to care. A regional child advocacy center will provide a safe, private place for children and a centralized resource to bring together the professionals involved in the process of helping the child. It’s simply the right thing to do for children,” said Steve Brown, FACHE, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health.
The overall goal of the center is to provide a centralized location for all of the necessary services, including medical services. The current process requires multiple interviews of the child with different people at different locations. It also requires the child to travel to receive specialized medical care and exams.
“The goal of the children’s advocacy center is to be child-focused. That means one interview, one place, one time for children who have been abused or witnessed abuse,” said District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, who, along with Judge Bradley P. Lunsford, is spearheading the development of the Children’s Advocacy Center. “Mount Nittany Health and its physicians will provide the key medical evaluation and treatment function at the center. In addition, the health system is taking a leadership role in making this vision a reality for our region.”
“This center will promote the healing process for children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. This gift from the hospital will also help our wounded community heal. We are grateful and honored to be a part of this collaboration. Centre County will soon have an advocacy center that will be viewed as the gold standard because of the efforts of Mount Nittany Medical Center,” said Judge Lunsford.
The health system has committed specialized training of its pediatricians Craig Collison, MD, Rachel Schwab, MD, and Kristie Kaufman, MD, and facility resources to the project, including concept design of its medical office space in Bellefonte. The facility is proposed to include the Children’s Advocacy Center, as well as a new expanded space for Mount Nittany Physician Group's pediatric practice in Bellefonte. Private and separate entrances will be provided for both the pediatric practice and Children’s Advocacy Center.
An advisory board for the Centre County Children’s Advocacy Center has been established and includes the following people:
- Brad Lunsford, Esq., Centre County Judge
- Stacy Parks Miller, Esq., Centre County District Attorney
- Tom King, State College Chief of Police
- Peter Montminy, PhD, child psychologist, MidStep Centers for Child Development
- Pamela McCloskey, MED, clinical child and adolescent psychologist, Forensic Interviewer
- Jack Infield, regional president, Susquehanna Bank
- Rod Beard, Esq., Beard Law Office
- Julia Sprinkle, director, Centre County Children and Youth Services
- Patricia Best, DEd, retired superintendent, State College Area School District
- Kimberly Neely, MS, director, The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center
- Craig Collison, MD, medical director, pediatrician, Mount Nittany Physician Group
- Julia Cronin Rater, Esq., McQuaide Blasko Law Offices
- Dawn McKee, special projects coordinator, Centre County Women’s Resource Center
The Children's Advocacy Center will open in the Fall of 2013 on the Mount Nittany Health - Bellefonte campus on Medical Park Lane, Bellefonte.