FREEHOLD, NJ - Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni was joined by County officials and others who played a vital role in creating the Child Advocacy Center as they cut the ribbon to mark the grand opening of the final section of the facility marking the completion of the project.
“This is the culmination of a great project that benefits everyone in the County. Four prosecutors have carried this project forward. The idea of the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) was born with former Prosecutor John Kaye and advanced by former Prosecutors Luis Valentin and Peter Warshaw, and now I have the honor of carrying the ball across the goal line. This project could never have been completed without the hard work and dedication of so many people in our Office, at the County and our generous Friends of the Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center,” Gramiccioni said.
Since the doors opened on the CAC in April 2009, the facility has served more than 400 cases of child abuse each year and the need continues to grow. The now completed CAC will provide a safe haven for children who are victims of child abuse, and is now a place where they can access medical care and mental health, social advocacy and law enforcement services following a report of abuse.
“Today, we deliver on our promise to protect the children of Monmouth County, and we will continue Monmouth County’s commitment to the Child Advocacy Center into the future in our quest to deliver critically important services to the innocent children who will find themselves here,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the Prosecutor’s Office. “Our commitment is loud and clear: Child abuse will not be tolerated in Monmouth County and we will protect the victims of child abuse.”
Situated on the County’s campus off Kozloski Road, the CAC now hosts an onsite pediatric forensic medical suite, nurse’s office, interview rooms, group and individual therapy rooms and an expanded waiting area. Additionally, the facility includes conference rooms and office space for the multidisciplinary team.
“Our vision from the beginning was to provide for abused kids and their families. This facility makes it possible for abused children to be treated medically under the same child-friendly roof where they will reveal their trauma to a team of people who will help them put their life back together,” said former Monmouth County Prosecutor John Kaye.
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. Since the opening in April, 2009, over 2,000 children and their families have been seen in the “child-friendly” setting.
The national model experience has proved that 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.
The CAC 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 Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the County Freeholders have enjoyed the benefits of its partnership with The Friends of the Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center. The goal of the partnership was to create a Child Advocacy Center with a child-focused environment designed to reduce the trauma to child abuse victims and their families often created when a child discloses sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect. Our goals were met through this successful private-public partnership.” said Dr. Martin Krupnick, Psy.D., Chairperson of the Friends of the Monmouth County Child Advocacy Center.
“Today, the children, families and citizens of Monmouth County can rest easier knowing that this child friendly facility is open and ready to advance our efforts to develop community awareness; support a coordinated response to the victims of child abuse; and to do all that we can to help these victims of child abuse to find a new normal,” Gramiccioni added. “The Monmouth County community can be proud of this integrated Child Advocacy Center. This child-friendly facility offers a multi-disciplinary approach to the investigation and treatment of sexual and physical abuse of children. Simply put: this facility puts victims first.”