JOLIET – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow announced today that the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) has been selected to receive three grants for programs to help children who have endured sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, sexual exploitation, child pornography, neglect, and exposure to violence.
The largest grant, totaling $504,000, is a Victim of Crime Assistance (VOCA) Continuation Grant administered through the Children’s Advocacy Center of Illinois to provide critical forensic interview, victim advocacy, and trauma-focused therapy services to child victims of abuse, and their non-offending caregivers.
The additional two grants, awarded by the National Children’s Alliance through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Justice, will provide $75,000 to expand resources for the victims of child pornography and child sex exploitation, and $25,000 to expand mental health services.
“These significant grants will enable the CAC to continue its mission of providing hope, healing and justice for young victims of sexual abuse and assault,” Glasgow said. “We rely upon grants like this to help us continue evolving with creative programs and offerings to meet the needs of our communities as we help victims on their paths to reclaiming their lives.”
Under the VOCA program, monies paid as penalties by those convicted of federal crimes goes into an account called the Crime Victims Fund. Congress passes this money to the states, which allocate the money to children’s advocacy centers and other organizations that serve crime victims.
“Since I founded the CAC in 1995, we have helped more than 9,500 children through the services we offer, and the numbers continue to grow,” Glasgow said. “Throughout its 25-year history, the CAC has continued to expand upon the services it has provided to serve the needs of vulnerable, innocent children who have suffered at the hands of soulless predators, whether those predators abuse children in the home or profit from children through vicious commercial human trafficking,” Glasgow said.
The National Children’s Alliance, which awarded the two remaining grants, is the national association and accrediting body for children’s advocacy centers. The $75,000 grant will help the Will County CAC in its efforts to combat child pornography and child sex exploitation.
“The CAC’s commitment to children extends to doing all we can to address the scourge of child trafficking, sexual exploitation and pornography. That’s why I established the Child Sexual Exploitation Coalition to develop a countywide response to child sexual exploitation,” Glasgow said. “Child victims of trafficking are recruited, transported, transferred, or harbored for the express purpose of exploitation. Traffickers often exploit children’s vulnerabilities. They brutally take away these children’s innocence for their own commercial profit.”
This is the fourth consecutive year that the CAC has received the National Children’s Alliance grant to address child sexual exploitation and pornography. The grant also will help expand law enforcement’s accessibility to the Children’s Advocacy Center and its services, develop a public service campaign to raise awareness about child sexual exploitation, and fund a specially trained child sexual exploitation and advocacy coordinator to handle these types of cases.
Finally, the $25,000 mental health services grant will help expand the CAC’s trauma-focused mental health services to the eastern areas of Will County. This will help eliminate distance, wait time and financial barriers for families who receive mental health services.
“The award of these highly competitive grants demonstrates the exceptional services provided by the Will County CAC,” Glasgow said.
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