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A local child advocacy group received a huge surprise this week.

The Dubois County Community Foundation awarded the Southwestern Indiana Child Advocacy Center Coalition $560,000 for its new advocacy center.

“Dubois County must be a community that prioritizes and invests in our children,” Executive Director of the Community Foundation, Clayton Boyles, says. “This project is a vital component of caring for children who have been abused or neglected, and we need to be a community looking out for them.”

Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools donated the Fifth Street Elementary School property to SWICACC in February. The west portion of the building will undergo a facilities renovation and then be re-purposed to a child advocacy center named Center on Fifth.

The $560,000 Community Foundation grant is towards a $1.1 million fundraising goal needed for renovation costs.

A child advocacy center is a child-friendly facility in which a team approach is taken to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect. A Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) includes medical, law enforcement, the Department of Child Services (DCS), Prosecution, mental health, and victim advocates working together to investigate abuse, hold offenders accountable, and help children and their families heal.

​“Child abuse is an epidemic that reaps havoc on our communities,” SWICACC Director, Tammy Lampert, says. “The new child advocacy center will be a regional resiliency center and directly improve outcomes for children by offering all the services the child needs in one child-friendly location.”

The grant was made possible by The Fund for Dubois County, John and Bobbi Jo Bell, and several anonymous donors of the Community Foundation.

“The Fund for Dubois County, our unrestricted endowment pool, gives us the flexibility to address unmet needs in our community such as this. Our donors stepped up in a big way which is a testament to their passion for this project. To make this significant of a grant would not have otherwise been possible,” Boyles says. “We have a strong partner in SWICACC, alignment with our strategic plan and engaged donors, all required for an investment of this scale.”

“A child advocacy center serves as a home base for all of the trained professionals to come together in one place for the benefit of the child. It has been proven that children benefit and can even thrive in the aftermath of abuse when the response is child-focused and multidisciplinary,” Lampert says.

SWICACC, a nonprofit established in 2009, provides forensic interviewing services to children reporting abuse in Region 17 which includes, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Martin, Orange, Perry, and Spencer counties. Since then, over 756 Dubois County children have received SWICACC services due to a report of maltreatment.

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