20 Jul Child Advocacy Center Purchases New Building in Mt Pleasant
Charleston, S.C., March 9, 2017 – The newly renamed Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center has purchased a new building to meet the growing need of children in the Lowcountry. For the last 25 years the center has helped more than 26,000 children and their families at their location on King Street, and now is at capacity. By adding a second location, the center will increase its services and partnerships to meet the changing needs of the growing community and better serve its mission to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families.
New building will serve more children
Just in Charleston County, an estimated 4,154 children are sexually abused, sexually assaulted, or physically abused every year. In Berkeley County, an additional 1,740 children are victimized each year. Over 14,000 children in these counties experience some form of interpersonal violence each year. The center currently has the capacity to provide forensic interviews—the starting point for treatment—to 1,560 children per year.
Projections show the need for Dee Norton’s services doubling in 20 years. Without an immediate expansion in services, children are at risk. Today, the center serves 99 percent of children living on the peninsula and in North Charleston who reach out for help, but serves only 36 percent of the children who need help in East Cooper and 21 percent of children on Daniel Island and Cainhoy.
The new building’s location, 677 Long Point Road in Mount Pleasant, will be more convenient for those children who aren’t getting the help they need.
“The situation is urgent,” says Dr. Carole Swiecicki, executive director and CEO of Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center. “This problem will increase exponentially as our area continues to grow. We are so thankful for our partnership with the City of Charleston, which has rented us our building for $1 per year since we opened, and which extended this lease an additional 30 years. This partnership will continue to allow us to serve thousands of children in our current location. However, unless we are proactive, one out of two children will not receive the help they need and deserve. Without increasing Dee Norton’s capacity, a staggering number of children will never heal from their emotional wounds.”
Over 90 percent of children helped by the center show no clinically significant trauma symptoms after treatment. With an expansion of services, abused children will have access to the help they need to heal.
New Name Focuses on Core Mission
Dee Holmes Norton was the co-founder of the center, known then as The Lowcountry Children’s Center. Norton was an advocate for children of the Lowcountry and South Carolina for more than 20 years. She was a teacher, a tutor, a mentor and a volunteer. In 2001, The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center was renamed in her memory.
Now to expand awareness of its core mission, the center has been renamed Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center.
While the center continues to expand, accomplish new goals and offer new services, the one thing that will never change is the center’s core focus – to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families.