New child advocacy center could soon come to Marquette County
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - A group is working to bring a child advocacy center to Marquette County.
A child advocacy center is a place where young victims of trauma go to get help.
Child welfare specialist Sarah Zyburt has made it her goal to build a child advocacy center in Marquette County within the next few years. Zyburt said this center is needed because talking to a child about subjects such as abuse, neglect and human trafficking is very difficult.
“The reality is every community in Marquette County is seeing this kind of maltreatment and it’s really important to have coordinated services when the unthinkable happens to a child,” said Zyburt.
Zyburt says a group of people from the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office, the DHS, NMU, and law enforcement have been trying to build a Child Advocacy Center in Marquette County for 12 years, though complications have always stalled it. Once built, the center will be called the Northern Lights Child Advocacy Center. However, Zyburt and her organization partners are still looking for a location for the center.
“By the way, we are going to have a canine advocate and that is because we do not want to feel like a hospital,” said Zyburt. “We do not want it to feel like the child is being punished or having to go to an office space building or anything scary. We are going to create a really home-like atmosphere.”
Zyburt said she has been working with multiple partners on this project, including the Marquette Police Department.
Detective Sergeant Nate Dawson said the center will help bring these cases to court, as it will provide the space for evidence-based, open-ended interviews that can be recorded and used in court if needed.
“It can be viewed by a number of different people, so we can have CPS, law enforcement, prosecutors’ office, [or] doctors involved,” said Dawson. “We are doing this so that child doesn’t have to be interviewed multiple times for the same thing, and that will lessen the traumatic impact of having to relive that story over and over again.”
Zyburt also said right now they are fundraising and are looking for volunteers.
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