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Voices for Children adds space as child abuse increases in Genesee County

As the number of child abuse and neglect cases continues to rise in Genesee County, the agency that helps get those children justice is forced to grow.
Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 5:30 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/2/2020) - “We wish we could close the doors of the actual direct services that we do; and to have to expand for direct services, it’s really hard,” Voices for Children President and CEO, Nyse Holloman said. “But, we have to recognize the reality.”

As the number of child abuse and neglect cases continues to rise in Genesee County, the agency that helps get those children justice is forced to grow.

The Voices for Children Advocacy Center broke ground Thursday morning on their building expansion.

The board members and staff actually looked into moving and finding a bigger building; but, the children they serve love what they call 'the big blue house.' So, they decided to just expand behind it instead.

“Now we’ll have an additional, 4000 square feet for the kids to have an art therapy room, a healing garden, to have the forensic interview rooms that they need, as well as a dedicated space for law enforcement to write up the warrants that they need to write up and to get everything that they need to send over to the prosecutor’s office,” Holloman explained. “It’s a one stop shop for the children.”

Each year, Holloman said Voices for Children helps more than 2,500 kids who have experienced sexual or physical abuse. That's one in 4 Genesee County children.

With double the space, she said they can help up to 500 more kids. The expansion is expected to be completed in October.

While they wish their services weren't necessary, Holloman knows their work is vital.

“While we partner with a lot of other agencies, what makes us unique is that we’re the only ones that are working in tandem with law enforcement to try and help the investigation move forward,” she explained.

The Center is providing justice, as well as healing and hope for kids who have endured unthinkable trauma.

Holloman added their services never stopped during the coronavirus shutdown. They've actually seen a rise in physical abuse with kids coming in covered in bruises or with broken bones.

“It’s heartbreaking to see what some parents, caregivers were doing to their children; but, the kids are so resilient,” Holloman said.

Seeing the value in their work, several local partners donated to the project. Goods Roofing is one of them. Owner Kelly Good said they’re providing a free roof to the expansion and redoing the old one, too.

“You know, I really like to help out where I can, especially with the children that don’t have a voice,” he said.

The agency is still looking to raise $70,000 by the time they open in October. If you would like to support them, click here.

Copyright 2020 WJRT. All rights reserved.

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