Children’s Center receives federal funding

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By Jennifer Caldwell

News of additional funding brings the Campbell County Children’s Center’s plans for an improved facility one step closer to reality.

The September announcement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s office that the advocacy center will receive $100,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding as well as the opportunity to borrow up to $215,000 in low interest loan dollars has the project moving full steam ahead.

“This (the funding) is what we have been waiting for,” Tracie Davis, children’s center chief executive officer, said.

In addition to the monies recently made available through the ARRA grant money and USDA Rural Development loans, the Children’s Center also received $200,000 to fund the building from the Campbell County Board of Commissioners earlier this year.  Private donations of $62,000 are available as well.

While preparations are being made to start clearing the land for the new facility, Davis said she is uncertain of a specific date for the official ground breaking.

“We must have the project complete within two years,” Davis said of the stipulations placed on the rural development and ARRA funds.

Not unlike it’s current building, Davis said the new structure will also present a home-like setting.

“We don’t want to lose the child-friendly environment that we have,” Davis explained.

In keeping with its mission of serving children the new building, like the old, will house space to accommodate the forensic interviews, medical exams and mental health services provided by the center.

According to Davis, designs for the new facility will address the critical areas of privacy and security that are more difficult in the center’s current location.

“There will be a separate entrance for families receiving medical services to ensure privacy,” Davis said.  “While we have never had any real problems security is also a concern for us due to the nature of the situations we work with daily.”

Although news of the additional funding is welcome, Davis said the center will continue to seek donations from local sources.

“We have been operating rent free, so we are entering uncharted territory,” Davis said of the prospect of making a monthly loan payment.

To help ease some of the financial pressures, Davis hopes that local businesses and churches will consider ongoing, monthly contributions to the organization.

“If there are churches or individuals that are willing to commit a set amount monthly then that would be money we know we can count on every month,” Davis stated.

The center currently provides forensic exams, interviews, mental health services to approximately 1,600 children in Campbell, Claiborne and Union Counties.

For more information about the Children’s Center or how to make contributions, call 562-4190.