In Wayne County, Indiana, the rate of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in 2001 exceeded the state average, with the number of reports of child abuse rising 35% from 2000 to 2001. Additionally, Wayne County saw three child fatalities in 2001 due to abuse and neglect. This state of affairs for Wayne County children was the motivation behind the formation of a task force in 2002 to explore the creation of a children’s advocacy center to change these regrettable and unacceptable statistics. The mission and purpose of the Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center is the prevention and prosecution of child abuse.
JACY (Justice and Advocacy Center for Youth) House was created to meet the needs of abused children and their families in a warm, non-threatening environment with a single, comprehensive investigative interview. The center strives to reduce the trauma to the child caused by multiple interviews, while improving the quality of evidence gathered to quickly and efficiently resolve cases through the use of a multidisciplinary team and specially trained interviewers.
The Center’s Board of Directors was able to secure a partnership with Reid Hospital for the use of a home to serve as the child-friendly and comfortable facility for operations. The Board not only negotiated the use of the facility for free, but also costs for ongoing maintenance and utility expenses. This long-term relationship brokered by the Board of Directors with Reid Hospital provides a strong foundation for a vibrant and well-administered children’s advocacy center.
JACY House covers Fayette, Franklin, Henry, Rush, Union and Wayne counties and serves over 400 children and families each year. In addition, the Center provides courtesy interviews upon request. In the past year, JACY House has added advocacy services to offer support to the children and families who come to JACY House, including a support group for caregivers of children who have been sexually abused.
The Center has expanded its community outreach and is now teaching the Speak Up, Be Safe
child abuse prevention program, to not only elementary students, but also junior high and high school students. JACY House is also offering Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children, a sexual
abuse prevention program for adults regarding protecting children in their lives, to all school
personnel as well as community members.