McAdams boosts support for Children’s Justice Centers to help victims of child abuse

Congressional News 04

Congressman Ben McAdams successfully bolstered funding for a program that helps children and families receive support during the criminal justice process as investigations proceed in cases of alleged child abuse and domestic violence. 

McAdams’ amendment to increase grant program funding by $2 million was adopted as part of the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill, which is one of five funding bills being considered under H.R. 3055.  McAdams’ amendment passed the House with bipartisan support.

McAdams said the grant program assists Children’s Justice Centers, which provide a comfortable, child-friendly atmosphere for medical providers and social workers to support young survivors of abuse as they seek justice against an alleged abuser while minimizing further trauma.

“The criminal justice system can be daunting for these courageous young survivors, who often come forward despite their fears.  The Children’s Justice Center (also known as Children’s Advocacy Center) model provides a safe, comfortable environment where trained professionals can conduct interviews without subjecting children to additional emotional harm,” said McAdams. “They can also provide physical and mental health services to aid the healing process.”

In 2017, Children’s Advocacy Centers throughout the United States served approximately 334,000 children, involving approximately 264,000 alleged offenders.  Forty percent of the children served are younger than six years old.

“I appreciate very much Rep. Ben McAdams’ continued commitment to serve and protect our most vulnerable victims of crime. Rep. McAdams is a critical partner to law enforcement and prosecutors in our efforts to bring justice to our communities,” said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, whose office includes the Salt Lake County Children’s Justice Center.

McAdams said the Children’s Justice Center model also results in a greater conviction rate for cases that are prosecuted in a criminal court. The program is part of the Victims of Child Abuse Act, which is the only federal program solely dedicated to these centers.