ChildSafe Center plans for satellite location

WINCHESTER – The ChildSafe Center in Winchester received nearly $30,000 on Tuesday toward a future satellite location in Shenandoah County.

Kelly Bober, executive director for the center, said the child advocacy center began working with more cases of child abuse out of Shenandoah County in 2008, five years after the center first opened in 2003. Since then, she said the number of cases from the county have increased. Lately, the center has seen around 30 percent of its cases coming from Shenandoah County.

“As part of that growth, we’re realizing that one of the obstacles is … (that) to come all the way to Winchester is kind of a burden,” she said of children and their families from Shenandoah. “We kind of felt like it would be a good idea to have a spin off of our center here in Shenandoah County, considered a satellite.”

While the plans for the Shenandoah center are still in progress, Bober said it’d likely be in a central location in or around Woodstock. The future center would use the multidisciplinary team model, which combines the expertise and support of law enforcement, commonwealth’s attorney offices, victim witness and social services and medical providers.

“You’re looking at child abuse cases in a way that’s holistic,” she said.

One of the biggest hurdles to setting up the satellite is the cost to finding a location and sustaining it, and ChildSafe Center President Monique Derby said that creating the kid-friendly, comfortable atmosphere is key.

Advanced Home Care, which merged with Valley Health’s Valley Home Care earlier this summer, held its 23rd benefit golf tournament in September. Through the event, the agency raised money for three recipients – one of them the ChildSafe Center.

Kristen Yntema, a vice president of Advanced Home Care, and Angie Fisher, a local senior leader with the agency, came to the Winchester location on Tuesday to present the ChildSafe Center with a $30,000 check from the benefit event.

“We’re very excited to see the location and see what amazing things this organization does for the community, and we’re really proud to be a part of that investment in the community,” Yntema said.

Carla Taylor, Shenandoah County’s director of social services, said the Shenandoah community has already assisted in raising a few thousand dollars for the satellite center, but the check was a significant boost.

“It’s so unusual to get something like this,” she said. “That’s a big contribution and it will take that, every bit of that, to kick things off down there.”

With the ChildSafe Center’s Board of Directors having met to begin forming a three-year strategic plan for the Shenandoah satellite, Bober said the county could see certain services offered by the end of 2017.

“It may be that we start by borrowing space … but ultimately we would like it to be its own freestanding space that is a replica of what we have here,” she said.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com.

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