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Child Advocacy Center on target to open by January

The Children Advocacy Center received a donation of $2,500 from Hooktown Holidays on Friday. Pictured at the East St. Clair Street and Hickory Street facility are (from left) CAC Board of Directors Vice President Tony Chimenti, CAC Board President Cameron Skelton, Hooktown Holidays President Jeff McKown, and CAC Board Member Rob Greene.

Within the next few months, the Warren County Children Advocacy Center will have a finished home and a director.

The facility will open around the first of 2018, according to Board of Directors Vice President Tony Chimenti. “We’re almost there.”

“The Children Advocacy Center is a safe and child-sensitive place where child victims of abuse undergo the initial steps on an investigation and begin to heal,” according to information from the CAC Facebook page.

The center will be housed in part of the former Ekey Florist building on East St. Clair Street.

There are no large spaces in the center, but being spacious is not central to the facility’s goals.

“It’s a friendlier, calmer environment,” Chimenti said.

The director’s work space is right inside the secure entrance. The board is currently in the process of selecting a director, Chimenti said.

There are only two seats and an ottoman in the interview room. During a typical interview, the CAC director and the child will be the only people present.

Up to four law enforcement agents and attorneys will be able to watch and listen to interviews from a nearby room equipped with audio and video equipment, Chimenti said.

There is a small conference room where the Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team can meet with family and family members can wait while children are being interviewed.

In addition to being comfortable and secure, the facility is set up to be discrete. Both the parking and the entrance are located at the back of the building.

The building is owned by the Warren-Forest Economic Opportunities Council. “This is their building,” Chimenti said. “We are renting from them.”

“EOC has been great,” he said. “They accommodate us to the fullest.”

There will be ongoing expenses associated with the program.

Hooktown Holidays donated $2,500 to the CAC on Friday

“Hooktown Holidays board and our supporters feel this is a very worthwhile program that falls right under our mission statement of keeping kids safe, warm, and well fed,” Hooktown Holidays President Jeff McKown said.

CAC Board Member Rob Greene said the board hopes to raise $50,000 by the end of the year for operational costs.

“With this $2,500 donation, we are now up to $14,044,” he said. “Anyone interested in donating can contact Thad Turner at 726-0110.”

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