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Missouri Senator Roy Blunt Visits Joplin

Senator Blunt is backing legislation which supports child advocates throughout the state.
JOPLIN, MO--- Missouri Senator Roy Blunt visited the Joplin Children's Center to assess the needs of child advocates.
"This center is one of the many examples of the good things that the victim of child abuse act has been a part of," explains Senator Blunt.

His "Victims of Child Abuse Act", which is being co-sponsored by three other state senators, is designed to increase funding for the 22 childrens' centers throughout missouri.
"Chiefs of police, to sheriffs, to prosecutors, they're all very much of the view that these centers-- there's 22 of them in our state-- make a real difference in dealing with the victims of child abuse, but also with them dealing with the perpetrators," says Senator Blunt.

The bill is expected to provide a network in which prosecutors and law enforcement work together to protect the lives of children. But in order for those resources to be sufficient, more money is necessary.
"Those are grant funded positions. What Senator Blunt is proposing, is to continue and maybe even increase the funding that allows those programs to exist. They're vital for our center and to keep our children safe," states Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson.

As of now, 35% of the Joplin Children's Center funding is provided through private donations. Executive director of the Joplin Children's Center, Kathi Olson, says the center's funding has been steadily decreasing for the past 16 years.
"All of our services are free to not only the children and their families, but also the agencies that use us. So, we really have to have community support," says Olson.

A fundraiser is being held this weekend to help raise money for the childrens' center. The event will also further educate law enforcement officials on the best ways to handle victims of child abuse, as well as offenders.
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