PHOTO: Monmouth County broke ground on the 2nd phase of construction of the Child Advocacy Center on Tuesday, Sept. 23 in Freehold, NJ. Pictured left to right: Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Peter Boser, Sue Rekedal, Multi-Disciplinary Teams coordinator at the Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Dr. Martin Krupnick, Chairperson of the Friends of the Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center, Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr., Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone, Freeholder John P. Curley, Freeholder Serena DiMaso and Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Marc C. LeMieux.
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – A ground-breaking ceremony was held Tuesday, Sept 23 for the second phase of the MonmouthCountyChildAdvocacyCenter.
The 4,237-foot addition to the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) will complete the facility and provide a safe haven for children who are victims of child abuse. It will be a place where they can access medical care and mental health, social advocacy and law enforcement services following a report of abuse.
“Today’s ground breaking is very important because it demonstrates MonmouthCounty’s commitment to the ChildAdvocacyCenter and the incredible services it will offer to the innocent children who will find themselves here,” said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the courts and the Prosecutor’s Office. “Child abuse is a terrible crime and happens far too often. These are the most vulnerable members of our society. We need to take care of them and that is exactly what will be done at this Center.”
Located on the County’s campus off Kozloski Road, next to the AgricultureBuilding,Phase II will include an onsite pediatric forensic medical suite, nurse’s office, interview room, group and individual therapy rooms and an expanded waiting area.
“Our ability to do a better job for these kids and their families will increase substantially when Phase II is completed. It will mean fewer trips to facilities across our county and beyond, so these kids can be treated medically under the same child-friendly roof that they meet with our detectives and assistant prosecutors,” said Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Marc C. LeMieux.
Phase II includes conference rooms and office space for the multidisciplinary team. The building will connect to the current facility with a separate entrance to the group therapy area as well as for law enforcement personnel.
“With the Monmouth County CAC, children and their families will have a safe and caring environment in which to talk about what happened to them,” Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. said. “It will bring MonmouthCounty into the 21st century in terms of providing necessary services for our most vulnerable residents who find themselves victimized by child abuse.”
Since the opening of Phase I in April, 2009, over 2,000 children and their families have
been seen in the "child friendly" setting. Phase II will help to further co-locate the
professionals who can help the children begin to heal.
The Monmouth County CAC is based on a national model that represents the best standards of care for child victims and will locate all professionals under one roof.
“We are well past the halfway point in our fundraising, but we need to get past the finish line and that will take the commitment from the community so we can help our little ones who are facing big issues,” said Dr. Martin Krupnick, Psy.D., Chairperson of the Friends of the MonmouthCountyChildAdvocacyCenter.
Donations to the Friends of the MonmouthCountyChildAdvocacyCenter can be made by mail or online at www.friendsofmccac.org or by mail to MCCAC, 75 West Main Street, Freehold, NJ 07728. For more information, call 908-770-1366.
Having all of the necessary services under one roof results in a more coordinated response and investigation into reports of child abuse. It also will be less traumatic for the children because they will have to travel to only one location to tell their story, greatly reducing their stress. Without a centralized facility, children travel to various locations to access these services.
“When a child is victimized it affects the entire family,” Freeholder Serena DiMaso said. “It is a stressful and heart-breaking situation for the entire family. This center is exactly what is needed to address the needs of these residents.”
The MonmouthCountyChildAdvocacyCenter is a place where children and their families can have a private and compassionate location and will be less overwhelmed by the investigative and criminal processes, resulting in fewer recantations in their testimony and the beginning of their healing.
“The MonmouthCountyChildAdvocacyCenter will go a long way to address the needs of child victims and their families,” Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone said. “Responding to their needs with a state-of-the-art facility will help the victims and increase the likelihood that the abuser is punished.”
Freeholder John P. Curley, liaison to the County’s Department of Human Services, said that in addition to fact gathering by law enforcement, the center will provide supplemental services such as medical and mental health care to children who are victims of abuse.
“Certainly, anything we can do to protect our children in this County is something all County residents look forward to,” Curley said. “We’re really looking to provide all these supplemental services to victims and their families.”
The Board of Chosen Freeholders expects to award a construction contract for $1,581,758 to Tri-Form Construction, Inc. based in Metuchen, NJ at their September 23 meeting.