Montgomery County House Democrats Announce $5.75M for Child Advocacy Center

HARRISBURG, Oct. 28 – Pennsylvania House Democrats in Montgomery County are congratulating the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County for being awarded $5.75 million to build its Child Advocacy and Training Center.   

In a joint letter to Gov. Tom Wolf, members of the Montgomery County House Democratic Delegation shared that “Child abuse is a growing public health crisis that requires urgent intervention and response. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this issue significantly, placing an intense strain on our community’s most vulnerable members. The child advocacy center model is an evidence-based approach that has been found to provide a faster healing process for the child, more fluid collaboration between all professionals, and more effective and streamlined investigations. By providing on-site medical and mental health services, the facility would also be removing barriers to make care more accessible and equitable, as well as improving overall physical and mental health outcomes for children and their caregivers.” 

The Montgomery County legislators, including Reps. Matt Bradford, Tim Briggs, Joe Ciresi, Mary Jo Daley, Pam DeLissio, Nancy Guenst, Liz Hanbidge, Steve Malagari, Napoleon Nelson, Ben Sanchez, Greg Vitali, and Joe Webster, worked with the Wolf administration to help deliver the funds, which originate from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program

The project will involve acquiring and renovating a commercial property to create the Child Advocacy Center. The new center will have high-tech forensic interviewing suites with observation areas for multi-disciplinary team members, family advocacy meeting rooms, co-located office space for law enforcement and social service professionals, numerous trauma therapy rooms, a specialized child-abuse medical suite for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and administrative office space. 

Leslie Slingsby, Mission Kids’ executive director, commented that “This funding is transformational for the child abuse victims we serve and the child protection field within Pennsylvania. Thanks to the unwavering support of our state representatives, Mission Kids can finally build the child protection facility of our dreams – a state-of-the-art center that will combine a fully-equipped child advocacy center with on-site medical services, a trauma therapy suite, a collaborative space for law enforcement and prosecution, and a large-scale Northeast Regional training center. This funding will allow for improved access to services and training, seamless delivery of services, and a significant positive economic impact on our community. We are grateful for the opportunity to help put Pennsylvania, as well as Montgomery County, on the map as a leader in child abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment.” 

“As a child advocate, I’ve seen first-hand the services provided by Mission Kids. I’ve sat in the room with district attorneys, police, therapists, the Office of Children and Youth, and others, working together in multidisciplinary teams to ensure justice, and the safety and health of child victims in this county. I’m in awe of the work that Mission Kids does to help families and secure justice, and I look forward to seeing how this funding will allow them to expand the services they provide and the impact they have,” said state Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery.  

State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, commented “I am especially pleased that the expanded space within the Child Advocacy Center will allow for greater access to therapeutic services for young children, teenagers, families, and allow for group therapy sessions.” 

“The addition of on-site medical services, including a first-ever dedicated board-certified child abuse pediatrician dedicated to Montgomery County, means that process of treating and helping children will be less traumatic and more accessible,” said state Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery. 

“Mission Kids is a one-of-a-kind program, and this grant, allowing them to create the only dedicated training facility in the northeast region for child abuse professionals, means that they can expand to help more families and will bring professionals seeking training to our region,” shared state Rep. Steve Malagari, D-Montgomery.  

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.