By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced several grant awards on Wednesday to charitable groups whose purpose is to provide help to abuse victims.
These include the St. Clair Children’s Advocacy Center which was awarded a grant of $37,851. The center helps children who were victims of physical and sexual abuse.
According to Gov. Bentley’s written statement, “The center provides a child-friendly, non-threatening environment for victims to talk about the abuse. Interviews are recorded and shared with law enforcement agencies so victims provide only one account of their ordeal and avoid the stress of multiple interviews with multiple agencies. After the interview, a victim can receive therapy through the center without charge if parents are unable to pay. The center also offers support groups and conducts preparation sessions for children going to court.”
Bart Lonergan is the President of the Center’s Board. The groups has to raise matching funds of $9,462.
Gov. Bentley also announced a $75,608 grant to Opportunity House which helps provide domestic violence victims in Covington, Conecuh and Monroe counties with a safe haven.
According to Gov. Bentley’s written statement, “Opportunity House offers victims safe shelter, a 24-hour crisis telephone line, individual and group counseling and transportation. The organization’s court advocates prepare victims for legal proceedings and accompany them to court appearances.”
ChaLea Tisdale is the President of the organization’s board.
Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded a grant to the Baldwin County Family Violence Project for $213,519. They operate the Lighthouse Shelter that serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Baldwin and Escambia counties. Lighthouse operates and emergency shelter and provides a 24-hour crisis line, as well as counseling and advocates to help victims navigate through the criminal justice system.
Sherry Dewberry is the board president of the Baldwin County Family Violence Project.
Gov. Bentley also awarded a $48,800 grant to the Regional Child Advocacy Center to assist child abuse victims in Choctaw, Clarke and Washington counties.
According to Gov. Bentley’s statement, “The center employs a counselor to help young victims cope with and begin recovering from abusive situations. A victim’s advocate assists children and their families throughout the investigation and prosecution of cases.”
Michael Goldman, is the Chairman of the Regional Child Advocacy Center’s board.
Bentley also announced that the Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center has been awarded a $42,566 grant to help child abuse victims in Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe counties.
According to Bentley’s statement the Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center, “Coordinates abuse investigations with a team of representatives from law enforcement and social service agencies. Victims are interviewed about the abuse in a child-friendly facility and have access to counseling and other assistance.”
Stephen Billy is the chairman of the Escambia County Regional Child Advocacy Center’s board, that the grants had been approved.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Justice. ADECA administers a wide range of programs which support law enforcement, economic development, infrastructure upgrades, recreation, energy conservation, water resource management, job training and career development.