Pratt's Family Crisis Center now includes special Child Advocacy unit.
A new tool in preventing and dealing with child abuse in Pratt and surrounding counties is now available in Pratt. The Family Crisis Center has added Child Advocacy Services on site at 400 South Main, Suite No. 101 in Pratt.
A special ribbon cutting ceremony was held there Tuesday to highlight these services now available on a 24-7 basis.
Unfortunately, children sometimes suffer abuse and neglect. They need a safe place and people willing to work for them and that place is now available in Pratt, according to Joanne Wondra, Child Advocacy Center executive director.
The goal of Family Crisis Child Advocacy Center, which serves Pratt, Ellsworth, Pawnee, Rice and Stafford Counties, is to prevent and end child abuse and neglect in their service communities. The mission to help make the perpetrators accountable while helping the victim move on with his or her life.
Kasey Dalke, program director and forensics interviewer, said th center provides a safe, family friendly place where victims can share their experience with specially trained professionals.
“There is a supportive place in town,” Dalke said.
Interviews are conducted with children from ages 3-17. Sometimes children have difficulties verbalizing what they need to say and Dalke helps them communicate during the interview. Mental health evaluations can also be conducted.
Dalke said they try to make the interview process as stress free as possible. The interview room has comfortable furniture and Dalke is in t-shirt and blue jeans when she conducts the interviews.
Interviews are done only once to save the child the stress of multiple interviews. Other professionals involved with the case can observe the interview remotely and get the information they need, Dalke said.
In the event of a trial, the child will be taken to the courtroom when it is empty and be shown were everyone will sit. Dalke said child advocacy workers will also testify in court if it is necessary for the case.
Support is also available for parents if their child has been abused. Referrals to other services like mental health evaluations, victims compensation and so on are also provided at the center.
Additional staff is available to help at Pratt through the Great Bend office. All together, the Child Advocacy Center employes 25 people in the two offices,Wondra said.
Some victim referrals come to the advocacy center from law enforcement, Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Department of Children and Families.
Besides Wondra and Dalke, other Advocacy Center team members include Jamie Fager, coordinator and forensic interviewer; Anna Osburn, family advocate and forensic interviewer and Karina Hooper, family advocate.
The Family Crisis Advocacy Center can provide speakers to visit clubs, schools or other entities and explain the services available through the center.
The Child Advocacy Center is a non-profit organization. Grants cover 90 percent of operating expenses while donations cover the other 10 percent. Grants were used to purchase equipment to open the new facility, said Joanne Wondra, Family Crisis Center executive director.
Because the center is non-profit, donations to the center are greatly appreciated. Call the office to learn about needed items. Monetary donations are also appreciated and are tax deductible.
To contact the Pratt office, visit 400 South Main Street, Suite No. 101 or call 620-508-6101. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If abuse or neglect is an emergency or time sensitive, contact local law enforcement or call 911.
Besides the Pratt office, child abuse or neglect can be reported at the Kansas Protection Reporting Center at 1-800-922-5330. This is a toll free call.