Monett Child Advocacy Center needs community support

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MONETT, Mo. — The Monett campus of a Southwest Missouri Child Advocacy Center is running out of room, but it needs support from the community to expand.

What is the Children’s Center Monett Campus hoping to do?

The organization is looking to renovate the medical, waiting, and therapy rooms to provide more privacy to their clients.

Vickie Dudley, Children’s Center of Southwest Missouri Executive Director, said, “They have better outcomes in school. There isn’t a likelihood that they’ll turn to substance abuse issues later in life. Their behavior is going to be better. Their whole family home life is going to be better as well.”

The Children’s Center, located in Joplin, Butler, Nevada, and Monett work with the Children’s Division of Law Enforcement to investigate child abuse cases.

The organization provides medical exams and advocacy for the child and family.

Since opening its doors in 1997, staff have eliminated the extra steps of having these cases handled, while increasing the prosecution rate of child abuse.

“Before child advocacy centers existed, the child likely disclosed to a trusted individual, perhaps a school teacher. The teacher then told the school counselor. The school counselor then shared with the principal. They called law enforcement and the child told their story multiple times.”

Counseling services have been recently added in Monett, and now the facility is running out of space.

25 kids a month attend these services, so there’s not much room in each interview space for children to get the help they need through play therapy.

Karla Bunch, Children’s Center Monett Clinical Child Therapist, said, “Our toys, everything accessible to the kids and get down on the floor when we need to and play with them because play is the language of children and we derive a tremendous amount of therapeutic value from how they play and what tools they use.”

By expanding play therapy rooms, waiting rooms, and relocating the medical room to the back of the facility, staff hope this will increase privacy for all of their clients.

“We are also going to spend dollars to sound proof all of the rooms and that way that will promote the confidentiality that we need and make the children feel safe when they are making disclosures.

The Children’s Center in Monett still needs to raise $125,000 to begin the remodel.

They are in the process of applying for neighborhood assistance credits that businesses can buy into to support the facility.

Staff hope local business will help make these renovations possible, so construction can begin in October.

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