BECKLEY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – The Just for Kids Child Advocacy Center attended Tuesday’s Raleigh County Commission meeting and, after giving a brief presentation, asked the county to support their cause to offset diminished funding and excess expenses that occurred during the pandemic.
Executive Director of Just for Kids Scott Miller first explained the center and how it works to help Raleigh County Youth.
According to Miller, in the last five years, Just for Kids has worked with more than 900 children who have been sexually abused, physically abused or the victim of a violent crime.
The center works with the Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Child Protective Services, the Raleigh County Board of Education, the Beckley Police Department and other entities to help child victims heal from the abuse they suffer.
“It’s a place for kids to tell their story,” Miller explained, adding that the center offers advocacy, counseling and outreach.
During the presentation, Miller noted that Just for Kids is funded through private sources, as well as federal and state grants.
Miller says the center faced great challenges during the pandemic after having to buy unbudgeted personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies. Furthermore, the center was recently notified that one of its major sources of funding will be reduced over the next several years, leaving a $300,000 a year gap in funding.
“This gap will impact our ability for us to provide support to Raleigh County,” Miller said. “We want to continue to help families respond, adapt and recover.”
Miller says the center will work to raise additional funds but asked the commission to use incoming American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to contribute $30,000 a year to the center for the next two years.
Tolliver stated that he did not know what the county could commit but said the matter will be addressed during the August county commission meeting.