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Donation help offer services to victims of child abuse

The victims of the abuse and their needs are often overlooked, however, Geisinger’s Child Advocacy Center (CAC) was created to address the needs of victims.

Since 2004, Geisinger has made a commitment to helping children in our communities affected by child abuse. Geisinger’s Child Advocacy Center (CAC) opened that year in Northumberland and served nearly 75 children from three counties, including Northumberland, Snyder and Union.

The center provides a one-place, one-time approach for dealing with child victims and allows families to begin the healing process without the burden of repeated interviews. Since 2004, awareness of child abuse has rapidly grown and so has the need for the CAC. The center has seen an increase in patients reaching nearly 500 per year for the past several years and will serve nearly 575 children in 2017.

In December of 2015, the CAC moved from its small location in Northumberland to a larger location in Sunbury. With 6,900 square feet, the new location at 218 Chestnut St., quadruples the CAC’s space. The new three-story facility allows for two interview rooms, an exam room, two therapy rooms, a conference and training room with the ability to provide more privacy to families coming in and out of the center.

The new facility has six full-time employees now on staff, including the CAC director, two forensic interviewers, a victim advocate, a sexual assault nurse examiner and a physician.

The services provided to these children in their time of need is free of charge but they are not reimbursable from insurance companies. The center operates heavily upon grants and philanthropic giving from individuals and groups.

And with increasing number of child abuse cases, the need for funding for the CAC continues to grow.

“Public awareness has raised the importance of reporting,” said Melissa Wagner, CAC director. “Our numbers have consistently grown each year that we have been in service and that is because we are serving a wider area and people are learning about the proper ways of reporting.”

Each year, gifts to Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger help with operational costs for the CAC and in 2015 donations helped for the move into the current location.

“Children’s Miracle Network has been wonderful with their support of the CAC,” Wagner said. “We thank the donors and supporters for their continued contributions.” To contact the Child Advocacy Center of the Central Susquehanna Valley, call (570) 473-8475.