The Blue Earth County Attorney’s Office and Mayo Clinic Health System, along with a number of additional supporting agencies, have created a partnership that was recently awarded a $165,000 grant from the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs (OJP) in support of a child advocacy center that will serve abused children and their families throughout southern Minnesota.
A child advocacy center (CAC) is a neutral, child-safe place children, teens and at-risk adults come to after they may have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, sexual exploitation or witnessed a violent crime. Here, a multidisciplinary team consisting of professionals in law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, health care and victim advocacy work together to provide everything they need at one location.
“It’s about taking care of kids in a way that works best for the child,” says Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott. “Partnering with Mayo Clinic Health System gives children and their families throughout our region direct access to the expertise of medical providers and the many unique services they provide locally to address these issues.”
“Mayo Clinic Health System is happy to partner with other local experts to provide this service to children and families in the region,” says Victoria Hanson, Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato vice chair of administration. “We continue to seek out opportunities to invest in the communities we serve and provide care to those in need.”
Child advocacy centers help to improve efficiency during investigations and forensic interviews, bringing the system to the child for a less traumatic experience. These grant dollars will help develop local expertise to increase access to medical care plus coordinate immediate support services to families in crisis, including medical health, counseling interventions and advocacy services.