Mingo Child Advocacy Center
WILLIAMSON - The much anticipated Mingo Child Advocacy Center (CAC) held their ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, October 10 with about 100 attendees. The new center is located in the Community Agency Building at 815 Alderson Street in Williamson.
Executive Director, Beth Cook hosted the event and grand opening guest speakers included Congressman Nick Rahall, West Virginia Legislature Senator Art Kirkendoll, West Virginia Legislature Delegate Harry Keith White, Mingo County Commission President Hootie Smith and Mingo County Prosecutor Teresa Maynard.
The Mingo CAC will operate under the direction of the Logan center’s Board of Directors and is the twenty-second child advocacy center opened in the State of West Virginia. The Logan County Child Advocacy Center has been open for six years and is an annual recipient of support from WSAZ Children’s Charities, the Bernard McDonough Foundation, Logan Heatlhcare Foundation, the State of West Virginia, AEP, Brickstreet, WV State Bar Foundation, and both county commissions.
Child Advocacy Centers are designed to provide a safe, child friendly location for child victims. The center is a community organization dedicated to helping the children of a community who have been victims of abuse crimes. The centers also support the work of the county investigative teams as they investigate criminal cases with child victims. In West Virginia child advocacy centers are independent entities managed by local Board of Directors.
The Mingo CAC will provide services that include forensic interviews, trauma focused therapy, victim and family advocacy, investigative teams, special medical care, help with West Virginia crime victim compensation fund, crisis support, caregiver support groups and public education and programs.
The guest speakers each gave thanks to Cook and her team for the efforts put forth to bringing the CAC to Williamson.
Congressman Rahall joined in commending all involved and said “This is truly historic for Mingo County. There has been a lot of team work, everyone working together.”
Senator Kirkendoll stated he ran on changing the lives of kids, helping seniors and being accessible, having his door open to the citizens of West Virginia. Senator
Kirkendoll said “As long as I can I will fight for the people.”
Delegate White took the lead in 2009 working with Governor Manchin to fund the child advocacy centers. The original bill in 2009 was 1M and today it is 1.7M with the help of Governor Tomlin.
Mingo County Commissioner Smith said “the Mingo County Commission was glad to be a small part of this opportunity. Anytime you invest in children the Lord will truly bless you.”
Prosecutor Teresa Maynard has been a part of the team for the Mingo CAC since it’s inception. Prosecutor Maynard wanted to thank Senator Rahall and the Delegates who went to bat for the CAC, for Cook’s hard work in putting this together and help in making it happen and the Mingo County Commission for the donation of the office space.
As reported by the Logan County Child Advocacy Center for the fiscal year 13-14, there were 217 cases received, Mingo County processed 122 cases alone. The Investigative Team for Mingo County had 136 incidents, the advocacy, medical and FI processed 1,791 and the mental health processed 31 cases. The criminal justice outcomes were 26 arrests, 10 individuals indicted, 12 convictions by pleas, one dismissal, one juvenile petition, 12 cases were worked by teams but eventually closed without prosecution and 46 investigations open and proceeding at beginning of new fiscal year. All the above statistical apply only to Mingo County.
Cook thanked the many individuals who helped develop and open this center and to the law enforcement agencies involved, the West Virginia State Police, Williamson Daily News and Mingo County Sheriff departments.
Cook gave a special thanks to Judy Hamrick and Jenny Gannaway.
For questions or directions please contact the Logan County Child Advocacy Center at 304-792-6261 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Williamson Center is scheduled to open Tuesday, October 14 and you can visit the website at www.logancountycac.webs.com.
(Lil Felix is a News Writer/Reporter for the Williamson Daily News. Lil can be contacted at email@example.com or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279)