The National Children's Alliance has awarded a $27,620 grant to the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara to enhance the quality of investigations into alleged child abuse and child neglect.
The grant will allow four individuals who are part of the child abuse response in Niagara County to attend specialized training on conducting forensic interviews for children with special needs. A key component of such investigations, a forensic interview is a neutral and legally sound fact-finding method that encourages children to talk about their experiences and produces evidence that will stand up in court.
The grant will also fund locally conducted specialized training related to working with special needs children, especially those who are very young or have developmental disabilities.
Additionally, it will allow the center to install soundproofing materials and language translation services, including American Sign Language, to ensure confidentiality and promote accessibility of its services to all children who are in need.
"This very competitive grant will help agency staff, local law enforcement, child protective services and other team members develop specific expertise and tools for working with young children, those with developmental disabilities, and those with communication or other language barriers who are suspected of being abused," said CAC Executive Director Laura Kelemen. "We are grateful to the Niagara County District Attorney Office, Sheriff's Department, and Department of Social Services for their support of this grant application."
The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara, a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, is a countywide resource providing a place for multi-disciplinary teams to investigate allegations of child abuse in a child-friendly environment.