Area child protection centers receive critical funding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Area child protection centers receive critical funding

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WATERLOO/CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - The Allen Foundation received a $10,000 contribution this week from the Walmart Foundation to assist in funding the new Allen Child Protection Center.

Cedar Falls Walmart Store Manager Bob Brokaw and Waterloo Walmart Store Manager Bryan Johnson presented the grant to Allen Child Protection Center board members Black Hawk County Attorney Tom Ferguson, State Representative Doris Kelley and State Representative Bob Kressig.

"We are very appreciative of the Walmart Foundation's donation," said Jim Waterbury, Executive Director of the Allen Foundation. "This contribution will get us one step closer to the Child Protection Center."

"Walmart is pleased to be supporting the Allen Foundation, and are committed to helping those in need in the communities we serve," said Bob Brokaw, Manager of the Cedar Falls Walmart Store. "Through the Walmart Foundation's grant we are hopeful that we can help children in the Cedar Valley area."

Meanwhile, St. Luke's Health Care Foundation in Cedar Rapids was recently awarded a five-year contract for St. Luke's Child Protection Center (CPC) from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). The CPC will receive $249,279 for fiscal year 2009-2010.

The IDPH grant will fund the salaries and benefits for three forensic interviewers and one family advocate, as well as continuing education costs for CPC professional staff.

"This grant funding is integral to our ability to care for and protect children," said Sue Tesdahl, director of St. Luke's CPC. "Children who have been abused are often afraid to talk about their abuse, either because they have been threatened by the abuser or because they think the abuse is their fault. At the CPC, children who have been suspected victims of child abuse receive a medical exam and forensic interview and both are used as evidence to prosecute the perpetrator."

"St. Luke's Health Care Foundation is proud to help support the valuable and meaningful work of the Child Protection Center, which serves children and families in 50 Iowa counties," said Shannon Duval, president of the St. Luke's Health Care Foundation. "The CPC is the first step in the healing process for both the child and the family."

Tesdahl said the forensic interview is led by an interviewer and is observed through a two-way mirror by a law enforcement investigator and/or a child protective assessment worker. In 2008, the CPC performed 1,000 forensic interviews.

"All interviews are recorded in an effort to avoid multiple interviews for the child and to be used by law enforcement and the Department of Human Services (DHS) in planning for the best interests of the child," said Tesdahl. "The forensic interview is a valuable piece of evidence and it can be used to prevent the child from having to testify about their trauma in court."

In 2008, 1,162 children were served by St. Luke's Child Protection Center.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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