The Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County will receive a $112,000 grant from the state to continue its work with young children who have been victimized by crime.
But the money won’t help the center solve its office space problem.
The grant was announced today by Gov. Mark Parkinson and is part of a package of $934,591 being distributed statewide from the State Children’s Advocacy Centers Grant Program.
“Children’s Advocacy Centers provide a safe place for abused children to talk about difficult and frightening abuse,” Parkinson said in a statement. “I’m grateful these centers are available to our children, and I am pleased to assist them in carrying out their important mission.”
The Sedgwick County center assists 2,500 children a year who are sexually and physically abused; runaways; and victims of Internet crime. It was formed last year by a task force of public and private agencies that assist abused children.
The center has 34 employees, including prosecutors, social workers and sheriff’s deputies assigned to the project. They work out of tight quarters in the basement of the Finney State Office Building, 130 S. Market, Wichita.
In county budget deliberations in August, the center unsuccessfully sought $120,000 for five years — half the cost of moving the center to different office space.
Diana Schunn, executive director of the center, told county commissioners that would make the center more accessible to clients and allow for greater separation between child victims and abusers from other cases, who at times have had to share a common waiting room.
Commissioners declined to put money for the move in the budget, but directed their staff to work with the center on the office-space issue.
Schunn said today that the center has already started to receive some of the grant funding announced by Parkinson. It’s intended and being used to pay a portion of the employees’ salaries and other ongoing operating expenses, so it won’t be available to help the center move, she said.
However, she said she has been meeting with county officials on the office space issue and progress is being made.
“We should have some pretty significant information by the end of November,” she said.
Other child advocacy centers receiving grant funds from the state include:
Allen County — Hope Unlimited, $34,313.
Butler County — Sunlight Child Advocacy Center, $40,121.
Crawford County — Children’s Advocacy Center, $46,900.
Ford County — Crisis Center of Dodge City, $50,114.
Harvey County — Heart to Heart, $70,807.
Johnson County — Sunflower House, $185,293; Kansas Chapter of Child Advocacy Centers, $48,089.
Leavenworth County — Alliance Against Family Violence, $47,324.
Lyon County — SOS, $50,098.
Reno County — Horizons Mental Health Center, $45,324.
Riley County — Sunflower CASA Project, $34,806.
Saline County — Child Advocacy and Parenting Services, $45,138.
Scott County — Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center, $46,647.
Shawnee County — Prairie Advocacy Center, $77,004.