The Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center says 1 in 10 children in northern Michigan are sexually abused before they turn 18.
The center sees hundreds of these young people being victims or witnesses of these crimes annually, and their services will steadily increase.
So they wanted to expand their building to accommodate these new cases.
“We want it to be a very calming place so they can come and talk about what happened or not,” said Executive Director Ginger Kadlec.
The center has seen an annual increase in demand for its services of 10% since 2015.
“We serve as a regional response center for allegations of crimes against children,” said Kadlec. “In order to be able to serve the needs of this region, we had to expand our space.”
One of the biggest differences for the center is the addition of a second forensic interview room where kids share their experiences with law enforcement.
“We have also doubled our capacities for our counseling and therapy offers,” said Kadlec. “We have increased staff, we have also added some additional counseling rooms because we offer trauma-informed therapy to both children and non-delinquent family members.”
And amid the pandemic, the Advocacy Center continues to see more and more cases of abuse.
“It’s been a troubling and very challenging time for many families,” said Kadlec. “As a result, many children got caught in the crossfire.”
In response, the center will also launch a new TV, radio and social media campaign this month, titled âHealing Begins with Us,â aimed at raising awareness.
“Some people know who we are and what we do, but a lot of people don’t,” said Kadlec. “If you are concerned that a child might be injured, we really want people to reach out and call us and ask for help.”
They hope these two new additions will help them better serve their community.
“The counseling needs, the mental health needs that we know is in great demand right now and we are seeing it, we are feeling it,” said Kadlec.
The center will host an open day for its newcomers to the general public on July 22nd from 4.30am to 6.30am. RSVPs are required by July 12th and can be sent to [email protected]