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National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville receives $2 million in DOJ grants

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By Staff
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, U.S. Attorney Jay Town announced that the Department of Justice has awarded grants totaling $2.1 million to the National Children’s Advocacy Center for the 2017 fiscal year.

Town and NCAC Executive Director Chris Newlin said that the Huntsville Center is receiving the funding through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Victims of Child Abuse grant programs.

“I am so pleased to be able to announce that the Department of Justice has awarded grants totaling more than $2 million to the National Children’s Advocacy Center this year,” Town said. “This center is renowned for the training and support it provides the many professionals who work with child abuse victims and strive to improve the judicial system’s handling of their cases.”

“The NCAC is honored to be awarded these two grants, which will allow us to continue providing the highest quality child abuse training and technical resources for professionals working throughout the United States,” Newlin said. “The Department of Justice has continuously funded these two projects at the NCAC for more than 20 years. This is testament to the quality of training and technical assistance we have provided during that time, which also has seen the number of CACs in the United States increase to more than 900 in 2017, serving more than 300,000 children per year. At the same time, our nation has seen the sexual abuse of children decline by almost 50 percent! We are making progress, and the NCAC and this community have played a pivotal role in this regard.”

Under the Training and Technical Assistance for Child Abuse Professionals program, the center received $900,000 to develop a training program for state and local professionals who shepherd child abuse victims through the judicial system. It also received a $1.2 million grant under the VOCA Act Regional Children’s Advocacy Centers Program to support the Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, which provides training and technical assistance to state chapters, other children’s advocacy centers and multidisciplinary teams in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

The Huntsville Center was the first child advocacy center in the country, and it continues to provide prevention and intervention services for child abuse in Huntsville and Madison County. It also houses the NCAC Training Center, the Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center, NCAC Virtual Training Center and the Child Abuse Library Online – CALiO.

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The purpose of the two grants is to develop and implement a model training and technical assistance program to improve the judicial system’s handling of child abuse and neglect cases and enhance the expertise of child abuse professionals.

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The program will provide training and support for multidisciplinary teams of child abuse professionals at the state and local levels, and will develop resources and publications designed to enhance the coordinated multidisciplinary response to child abuse.

The training by the National Children’s Advocacy Center will emphasize the implementation of developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed and evidence-based programs, policies and practices. Training will address topics including Forensic Interviews at Trial: Preparation and Presentation Training; Building Forensic Interviewing Skills Training; Conducting Child Abuse Investigations for Child Protective Services and Law Enforcement Training for CPS Investigators and Law Enforcement Investigators.

The grants also will help the advocacy center provide scholarships for child abuse professionals to the International Symposium on Child Abuse and offer new, recorded online child-abuse response training sessions and provide new webinars on high-priority child-abuse response topics. The center will continue to provide archived webinars and online trainings. Through its technical assistance efforts, the NCAC will provide technical assistance via online Mentoring and Consultation Groups for Forensic Interviewers and online Consultation and Support Groups for Supervisors of Child Forensic Interviewers.

Troy E. Town was appointed by President Donald J. Trump (R) and was recently confirmed by the Senate.

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