News | Published January 29, 2013

Children’s Advocacy Center to open in Bellefonte with Mount Nittany Health

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 effortsof the Mount Nittany Medical Center,” said Judge Lunsford.

To date, Patricia Best, D.Ed, board member, Mount Nittany Medical Center, and retired superintendent of State College Area School District, Craig Collison, MD, Mount Nittany Physician Group pediatrician, and Kim Neely, director, The Foundation for Mount Nittany Medical Center, serve on the board for the Children’s Advocacy Center from Mount Nittany Health. In addition, the health system has committed specialized training of its pediatricians Dr. Collison, 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 pediatric practice in Bellefonte. Private and separate entrances will be provided for both the pediatric practice and Children’s Advocacy Center.