Advocacy center for children opens satellite location in Albion
ALBION – An organization that serves about 50 to 75 Orleans County children each year has opened a satellite location in Albion to improve access for counseling and other services.
The Justice for Children Advocacy Center has its main office in Batavia. That location was a challenge for many children and their families to reach on a regular basis, said Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for the Justice for Children Advocacy Center.
The center on April 13 opened a satellite location in Albion in the Arnold Gregory Office Complex at 234 South Main St. The center has its office in suite 156 open on Thursdays in Albion. (The center has also opened a satellite location in Warsaw, Wyoming County.)
“It will be a huge asset for the community,” said Terri Drennan, the crime victims’ coordinator in Orleans County. “It will be much closer for our families.”
The center offers counseling for children who have been abused or victims of other crimes.
The center has specialists for “forensic interviewing,” helping to determine if a crime has been committed and the extent of the wrongdoing.
The center wants to reduce the number of times a child victim is interviewed and to take those interviews out of intimidating locations such as police stations, hospitals or the district attorney’s office, Asmus-Roth said.
The Albion office suite has one room with toys, and another is decorated with a design of a tree. Asmus-Roth said she wants a child-friendly setting during a difficult time for victims.
The Justice for Children Advocacy Center also does medical exams to confirm whether there has been physical or sexual abuse.
The center also has advocates who connect children and their families to other services in the community.
The Justice for Children Advocacy Center started in 1998 in Batavia. It has been serving children in the four rural GLOW counties (Genesee-Livingston-Orleans-Wyoming) for the past 10 years.
Asmus-Roth said some of the children need therapy every week, and that can be demanding on a family if they have to travel from Orleans to Batavia.
The center doesn’t charge the children and their families for the services. The state Office for Children and Family Services, and the state Office for Victim Services fund the program, as well as donations.