• 36°

Prevent Child Abuse Rowan breaks ground on building expansion

SALISBURY — Prevent Child Abuse Rowan deals daily with the issue of child abuse. Its child advocacy center, the Terrie Hess House, regularly sees children and families affected by abuse and neglect.

A growing need is leading to an expansion.

In the next six months, the child advocacy center, located at 130 Woodson St., will add 1,600 square feet of space to include a therapy suite and offices.

Elected officials, law enforcement leaders, judicial officials and volunteers gathered at the advocacy center Tuesday for a groundbreaking to commemorate the expansion.

Prevent Child Abuse Rowan is reaching out to private donors and will begin a public fundraising campaign Feb. 1. Construction on the expansion will begin in mid-January with a completion date of July 1.

“We hate we need the services, but we’re glad to provide them,” said Rowan County Sheriff Kevin Auten.

Auten, who sits on the Prevent Child Abuse Rowan board, said it’s unfortunate there is a growing need for a child advocacy center to provide services for children suffering abuse and neglect. But he’s grateful there is a place in Rowan County that can provide those services.

From 2010 to 2016, there was a 69 percent increase in child abuse and neglect cases handled by the Terrie Hess House Child Advocacy Center.

“We really open our doors for the kids we serve,” said Executive Director Beth McKeithan.

The expansion will add a conference room that will be used for community education programs.

McKeithan said the therapy suite will be a space for children and their families to work toward healing.

“It’s more important to help build a strong child than to help a broken man,” McKeithan said to those gathered.

Finance Director Matt Marsh has been a part of the organization for 12 years and began at a time when there were two employees and a number of volunteers. Now there are 15 people on staff, all of whom are sharing offices. The expansion will provide them more space.

Prevent Child Abuse Rowan began as a grassroots effort after the 1997 deaths of four children in Rowan County. The Terrie Hess House opened in 2005 and is named in honor of then- guardian ad-litem Terrie Spencer Hess, who was instrumental in getting the center up and running prior to her death.

In 2014, Prevent Child Abuse Rowan began the Stop-Go-Tell program that provides in-school education sessions for first- and fifth-graders to teach them how to avoid abuse. In 2016, the organization started the Nurturing Parenting Program to provide parents with skills to be more supportive caregivers of young children and how to avoid abusive relationships.

Rowan County commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said when he thinks about the child advocacy center, initially there are feelings of sadness. But they are quickly replaced with hope — hope that there is a place for children and their families to find help, he said.

He spoke of the volunteers, staff and board who help at the center.

“To say thank you seems a little trite, but we do thank you,” he said.

For more information about Prevent Child Abuse Rowan and the Terrie Hess House Child Advocacy Center, visit www.preventchildabuserowan.org or call 704-639-1700.

Comments

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month

Local

City makes some appointments to local boards, holds off on others to seek women, appointees of color

Education

Education briefs: RCCC instructor honored by Occupational Therapy Association

Local

Second quarter financial update shows promising outlook for city’s budget

Columnists

Genia Woods: Let’s talk about good news in Salisbury

Local

City attorney will gather more information for Salisbury nondiscrimination ordinance

Education

North Hills planning to hold May fundraiser in person

East Spencer

Developers aim to transform former Dunbar School site into multi-purpose community development

Education

Knox student organizing event to get community cycling

Education

Decision on Essie Mae charter appeal expected Thursday

Nation/World

House passes sweeping voting rights bill over GOP opposition

Nation/World

Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol

Nation/World

States rapidly expanding vaccine access as supplies surge

News

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper receives COVID-19 vaccine

News

North Carolina health officials urge schools to reopen

Crime

In letter, PETA criticizes Salisbury Police for K-9 video

Coronavirus

Three deaths, 29 new COVID-19 positives reported

Crime

Blotter: Bullet holes found in woman’s Park Avenue apartment

Crime

Man faces assault charges for domestic incident