Child Advocacy Centers among programs looking to benefit from Se - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Child Advocacy Centers among programs looking to benefit from Senate Bill 2003 restored funds

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CHARLESTON, WV - Family resources and social services groups in West Virginia hope to get more than one million dollars that they feared would be lost as House of Delegates restored the money of Senate Bill 2003 during the special session.

One of those centers that plans to benefit from the $1.068 million is child advocacy centers. They will get up to $200,000 dollars towards their centers.

 "The $200,000 means our local centers won't have to take the cuts projected at a reduction of $8,000-$15,000," said Emily Chittenden-Laird, the Executive Director of West Virginia Child Advocacy Network.

Which would have meant a significant loss in children's needs.

 "It means therapy hours for kids, forensic interview hours, advocacy hours and these are the core services we provide," Chittenden-Laird said.  "It means for some centers the therapy they are providing to children that is trauma focused won't be cut."

At the Kanawha County Child Advocate Center, at times patients will see kids from as many as 25 different counties around the state, so the money will add to their three full-time employees.

"We are on pace to see well over 500 children this year, which is a 20-percent increase, so having the ability to even hire a part-time person is very important," said Maureen Runyon, the coordinator of the Child Advocacy Center at Women's and Children's Hospital.

Going forward these child centers know they are at the mercy of the state each year as it comes to funding, but at least for this year, the centers will be able to maintain their level of care.

"At the beginning of the week, we thought it was a done deal but what they pulled off was nothing short of a miracle," Chittenden-Laird said.

Child advocacy centers aren't completely in the clear as Governor Tomblin has five days to veto the House's ruling.

Here's the breakdown of other programs and how much they look to receive:

Family Resource Networks   $150,464
In-Home Family Education   $250,000
Grants for Licensed Domestic Violence Programs    $357,900
Children's Trust Fund  $80,000
Domestic Violence Legal Services Fund $30,000

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