PARC CITY, Utah. – While the Summit County Children’s Justice Center (CJC) has been in existence since 2012, it first opened its own facility in December 2020. Since then, the facility has provided a safe haven for many children and families faced with the difficult situation of reporting child abuse cases to the authorities.
Their mission, according to Ted Walker, executive director of Summit County CJC, is to provide a child-friendly atmosphere for interviews with children who have allegedly been abused or neglected. The facility also provides space for initial medical examinations, mental health assessments and other services.
âThe need for child advocacy centers became evident in the early 1990s when children had to go to the police for interviews. They should then go through the same process at the doctor’s office and again at child protection services. Walker said. âWe now know that doing all of these interviews separately can cause secondary trauma. The idea of ââCJC is therefore to have a place where children can access all of these services at once through a single interview.
Before Summit County CJC got its own facilities, they were operating in the Summit County Library building. Walker points out that this has never been a great place as there was always the risk that children visiting the center might meet people they knew, putting their privacy at risk.
The new facility is funded by a number of grants and nonprofits, the largest being the Summit County Friends of Children’s Justice Center and the Delta Pilots Charitable Fund.
The facility also benefits from the services of its most beloved employee, Kallie, the black lab therapy dog. According to Walker, “It has already had a calming effect on children and parents.”
To support CJC’s mission, donations can be made through the Summit County Friends of CJC website. The website can also be used to report suspected cases of child abuse or endangerment.