Children's advocacy center opens in Bell County

The Ray of Hope Children's Advocacy Center opened its doors Monday in Pineville.

The center plans to help in the fight against child abuse.

Community members in Bell County saw a need to fight against child abuse in the area.

"Restore, repair, and rebuild the lives of victimized youth," said Ray of Hope Executive Director Gina Johnson.

These children are the future of this community.

"Our children are our most valuable assets and also some of our most vulnerable citizens," said Bell County Commonwealth's Attorney Karen Greene Blondell.

Social services, law enforcement, and school officials will use the center as a resource.

Ray of Hope plans to make children feel comfortable inside their doors with various counselors and other officials.

"There will be forensic interviewers, there will be medical treatment, there will be counseling, there will be prevention efforts, so this is a fabulous day for Bell County," said Blondell.

The center wants to create an awareness throughout the community and a safe haven for children.

"Our goal is to create and maximize coordinated responses that will better address the needs of our children, our abused and neglected children," said Johnson.

Ten months of preparation took place before its doors opened. Doors workers say will lead to the future.

"This is for Bell County's children," said Johnson.

Ray of Hope received funds from the Elgin Foundation.


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