State Brooks’ Place, the Child Advocacy Center of Cullman awarded nearly $200,000 | The Cullman Tribune

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Brooks’ Place, the Child Advocacy Center of Cullman awarded nearly $200,000

CULLMAN - Brooks’ Place, the Child Advocacy Center of Cullman, a nonprofit center that serves child abuse victims in Cullman County, recently received a $187,161 grant, awarded by Gov. Robert Bentley through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

“These are competitive grants,” said Brooks’ Place Executive Director Gail Swafford. “We’ve gotten ADECA funding ever since we opened our doors. Without this funding source, we would not be able to do what we do. This is the highest (amount) it’s been in a quite a long time.”

The grant will help Brooks’ Place continue to offer free professional assistance to victims and their families. The center also coordinates a team of representatives from law enforcement agencies, the district attorney’s office and the state Department of Human Resources to investigate and prosecute claims of child abuse.

“The wonderful thing about it is that the families don’t have to pay anything,” Swafford said about Brooks’ Place. “We would not be able to have our doors open without ADECA.”

Counseling is available through the center and victim advocates help family members understand and navigate the criminal justice system.

“Compassionate, professional assistance can go a long way in helping victims recover,” Bentley said. “I commend the staff of Brooks’ Place for assisting victims to begin the healing process.”

ADECA is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Justice Department. ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, workforce development, water resource management and recreation development.

“Child advocacy centers provide a one-stop, home-like setting that give children victimized by abuse access to a range of assistance tailored toward their needs,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. “ADECA partners with Brooks’ Place and other centers across Alabama to help ensure this specialized assistance is always available.”

Bentley notified Holly Bussman, president of the center’s board, that he had approved the grant. Matching funds of $31,639 are supplementing the award.

In addition to grant funds, Brooks’ Place depends on individual, private donations to continue providing a full range of assistance. Visit www.caccullman.org for more information.