Voices for Children breaks ground on expansion of advocacy center

Voices for Children Advocacy Center has revived its Capital Campaign, with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Flint location at 515 East St. on July 2, after the COVID-19 pandemic brought it to a halt.

Kicked off in February before it was put on pause, the campaign aims to raise funds to increase the space of its campus by an additional 4,000 square feet. Additional space is needed to treat child victims of abuse and neglect and their families. Demand for the organization’s services is growing significantly, with 1,200 individuals seen and treated at Genesee County location last year. In the first three months of this year, staff therapists conducted 700 sessions.

The additional space will include a welcoming, private waiting room for the children, and space for support group meetings and family therapy. The center must also further increase accessibility for those with physical handicaps and cognitive impairments as we are committed to providing intersectional and inclusive services for all children.

Voices for Children is the only accredited Child Advocacy Center serving the greater Flint area and all of Genesee and Shiawassee counties. The agency provides forensic interviews, therapy and counseling, victim advocacy, prevention and community education, and the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program.

Though the campaign was put on hold due to the pandemic, Voices for Children was not. It increased service provision to meet the urgent needs of children and families created by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Staff provided therapy via telehealth, victim advocacy, emergency forensic interviews, and continued their work with children in foster care and coordinated non-contact home drop-offs of food, water, and diapers for families in Genesee and Shiawassee counties.

Voices for Children also developed resources to support parents, as well as a tool for educators and the community to help identify suspected child abuse and report incidents while schools are closed.

“The local need for our critical services has only increased during the pandemic,” said President & CEO Claudnyse D. Holloman. “We knew pausing this spring was the right thing to do and now we are asking for the community’s help and generosity to reach our goal and serve these child victims who need our help.”

The campaign has raised 90% of its goal of $1 million needed for the expansion, with construction scheduled to be complete in early 2021.

For a list of Voices for Children’s resources and programs and to learn more about Child Advocacy Center services, visit voicesforcac.org.

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Read more articles by Ashley Schafer.