Lotus unit tour helps to launch Child Abuse Prevention Month

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By HANNAH SAAD hsaad@paducahsun.com  Updated 

 

Mayor George Bray joined Lotus staff members and volunteers Friday morning at the organization’s Paducah campus to proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

 

Bray, Lotus workers and prosecutors from the McCracken County Commonwealth’s Attorney office then toured Lotus’ children’s advocacy center mobile unit, a renovated Winnebago that will go out into communities to reach children and families impacted by child abuse.

 

Bray complimented Lotus’ facility and the Lotus staff and volunteers for the work they put in to helping survivors of abuse.

 

Grace Stewart, Lotus children’s advocacy center program director, said the mobile unit is the first of its kind in Kentucky. Inside of the mobile unit, there are spaces set up for both forensic interviews and specialized medical examinations. There will also be information available for family, caregiver and legal advocacy, mental health services and educational materials on victims’ rights and compensation.

 

Some families may have barriers, such as lack of transportation, that could prevent them from seeking out services at Lotus’ Paducah campus, Stewart said. Since the mobile unit can travel to different locations throughout the Purchase Area, Stewart said Lotus could now reach out to families that may not have been able to receive much-needed services before.

 

“I’m really excited and proud that west Kentucky is really kind of being innovative and coming up with ways to meet people where they are, which we know is really important after someone experiences trauma,” Stewart said.

 

Lotus’ Winnebago will remain unmarked, Stewart said, so that it is not easily identifiable when the mobile unit is out in local communities within the eight Purchase Area counties Lotus serves.

 

Stewart said about 1,200 children in the Purchase Area are impacted by child abuse or neglect each year.

 

“We know that early access to services like forensic services, therapeutic and restorative services and advocacy, will help reduce the impact of child abuse and neglect,” Stewart said.

 

About 75% of the funding for the development mobile unit project came from grant funding via the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). Lotus also received funds for the project through the Ray & Kay Eckstein Charitable Trust and the Charity League of Paducah Ethel Dubois Smith Fund.

 

Lotus anticipates the mobile unit to cost around $11,000 per year to operate. This estimate includes fuel and maintenance costs as well as maintenance of the unit’s interview room, medical examination room, waiting room, family advocacy room and restroom.

 

Follow Hannah Saad on Twitter, @ByHannahSaad or on Facebook at facebook.com/hannahsaadpaducahsun.

 

 

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