JOHNSTOWN — “This center is for them,” said District Attorney Kelly Callihan. “It’s sad that we need it, but I am glad we have it.”
On Wednesday, the Cambria County Child Advocacy Center held its grand opening.
“This has been a long time coming. It was a goal of mine,” said Callihan.
In Cambria County, there has been a gradual increase in child abuse cases. The process for a child who is a victim is traumatizing, according to Callihan.
“Before, a child would have to go to go to several people discussing the abuse; this minimizes that,” said Callihan. “It makes it less traumatic for a child.”
From January to early this week, Betzi White, administrator of Cambria County Children and Youth, said her office received 445 reports of child abuse and more than 1,000 allegations of child neglect. From January through June, 56 forensic interviews were conducted in Indiana and Centre counties, she added.
A large crowd attended the grand opening, including officers from throughout the county. It’s located in a space donated by Pediatric Care Specialists on Eisenhower Boulevard in Richland Township. The Center has received funding and grants, including $24,000 from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.
“We are very grateful for the support from everyone in the community,” said Callihan. “Funding was our biggest hurdle.”
The Center has a fund set up through the Foundation. To donate and help support the Center, click on child.
“This is a circle of support that surrounds our child victims,” said Callihan. “The real work begins now, and the results are going to be everlasting.”