SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (May 13, 2010) – On May 1, Childhelp began operations of a renewed program for the treatment and prevention of child abuse in Payson, Arizona. The Childhelp Gila Child Advocacy Center brings aboard the program and takes over operations of the Gila Family Advocacy Center, which first opened in Payson in April 2007.
“We’re very excited to be able to come in and continue to serve the children and community of Gila County with the Childhelp Gila Child Advocacy Center,” said Maureen Basenberg, program director of the Childhelp Children’s Center of Arizona.
The former advocacy center was under the umbrella of a local domestic violence shelter, Time Out Inc, and served adults and children who were victims of sexual assault/abuse, physical child abuse and child neglect. However, under budgetary constraints and a weaning fund supply, the program was scheduled to close operations on May 1. After being notified of the closure by its program manager, Christy Walton, and thanks to a Department of Justice fund earmark Childhelp stepped in and will now continue operations of the program so that abused and neglected children in the area will not go untreated. All staff from the center will remain on board and become employees of the Childhelp family including; Christy Walton, Program Manager/Forensic Interviewer; Barbara Thompson, Lead Victim Advocate; and Patti Frye, Victim Advocate.
“It means a tremendous amount to all of us to be able to continue our fight against child abuse and neglect in Gila County and I can’t think of a better organization than Childhelp to partner with in these efforts,” said Christy Walton.
The program will operate from the Childhelp Mobile Unit with Bob Gillette, Mobile Unit Program Manager, driving the mobile to Payson as needed so that Walton can conduct interviews and the advocates can respond to victims. As soon as a new Mobile Unit is purchased for Coconino County the existing unit will be “retired” to Payson. At that time a driver will be hired to take the mobile unit to Globe as well so that interviews can be conducted in that part of Gila County.
In 2009, Childhelp commemorated 50 years of bringing the light of hope and healing into the lives of countless children. CEO and Co-Founder Sara O’Meara and President and Co-Founder Yvonne Fedderson started Childhelp in 1959, establishing it as a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect and at-risk children. Childhelp’s approach focuses on advocacy, prevention, treatment and community outreach, including the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD®.
For more information about Childhelp’s many programs of prevention and treatment and to learn how to get involved, please call 480-922-8212 or visit www.childhelp.org.