The North Central Missouri Children’s Advocacy Center provides support for children who have experienced abuse.
Executive Director Verna Kelsey says that the center was developed in 2003 as a result of challenges children faced when they made a disclosure of abuse, primarily sexual abuse. She explains the advocacy center hears about abuse situations typically when a child has made an outcry or a disclosure of some type of abuse, usually to a caretaker or a teacher.
The incident is then called into the child abuse hotline or law enforcement, and an investigation takes place. If the abuse happened in the home, Kelsey says the case usually goes to the children’s division, who co-investigates with law enforcement. The advocacy center then receives a referral from either agency or the juvenile office to conduct a forensic interview. Kelsey notes the advocates provide support after an interview, and cases can take up to two years to complete.
Kelsey says the center’s funding primarily comes from state and federal grants and any difference has to be made up through foundations and fundraising.
Kelsey says the North Central Missouri Children’s Advocacy Center is looking for volunteers. She notes there is a high level of confidentiality required, and there is a lot of computer work. Kelsey adds volunteers have to pay $20 for a background check.
Call the advocacy center at 660-359-2874 for more information on volunteering.