Children’s Advocacy Center Expands

55d252eb08709.imageTRAVERSE CITY RECORD EAGLE

BY SARAH ELMS selms@record-eagle.com | August 18, 2015

TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center has become a regional response hub for cases of child sexual abuse, physical abuse and witness to violence, and officials have a new building to help them handle the increased caseload.

The center started with partnerships in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties and with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. The center’s reach has grown in the past year to include Benzie, Kalkaska and Antrim counties, and with that so has the community need.

Officials conducted 27 forensic interviews in June compared to eight interviews in that same month last year.

“That’s a significant increase,” said Executive Director Sue Bolde.

The CAC in August moved to a larger building in Traverse City that offers two forensic interviewing rooms and three rooms that can be used for counseling. The previous building had only one interview room and one counseling space.

“It gives us the opportunity to meet the need,” Bolde said.

Dr. Amelia Siders, the center’s clinical director, said the extra space also will allow her to bring social work interns on board from neighboring universities. They’ll learn more about trauma-informed treatment and the CAC will be able to provide counseling to more clients.

“It’s not just for a child, but also if a parent needs support or if we have siblings that are really struggling with that happened,” Siders said. “So the more people we have here that can provide treatment, the better our services will be.”

The new building also includes a vacant cafe space Bolde hopes to use as a community learning center.

“We’re dreaming big about that space,” she said. “We see it becoming a community learning center that would house the CAC’s prevention initiative program but also would be available to our partners in the community to use for educational opportunities.”

Traverse City couple Marty and Olivia Lagina donated the money to cover 75 percent of the new building’s cost, and the Oleson Foundation gave $20,000 to help cover remodeling expenses.

The CAC is hosting a Circle of Friends Luncheon on Oct. 6 to raise money to pay for the remaining moving expenses.

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