Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center opens new satellite location

Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:28 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center opened a new satellite location in Columbia at the beginning of June.

The new center in Columbia is serving kids in Marion, Jefferson Davis and Lawrence counties.

Officials say that the new center will make it easier for non-offending caregivers to bring their children to the center.

The Kids Hub Child Advocacy Center helps kids that are victims of abuse.

“Predominately, we serve kids for sexual abuse allegations,” said Executive Director DiDi Ellis.

Their main office in Hattiesburg serves five counties, including the ones listed above. The other two are Lamar and Forrest County.

They saw a need to open a center in Columbia due to the high number of kids they see from the area.

“Over the last year, we have been working with our Board of Directors to work come up with a solution for how we can better serve the children in Marion, Lawrence and Jeff Davis counties,” said Ellis. “So, we’ve been open since 2015 and we’ve served more than 2,100 kids to date. About 700 of those have come out of those three counties.”

The center works with law enforcement and Child Protective Services. They provide interviews, which gives the child a chance to tell what is happening to them. Together, they come up with a plan to assist the victims.

“That forensic interview is an opportunity for that child to tell about any and all adverse experiences that they’ve had in their little life. It’s video and audio recorded, and those investigative agencies are available to watch through close circuit television so that we can reduce the number of times that children have to tell their stories,” Ellis said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 91% of sexual abuse against kids is done by someone the child knows. Often times, kids do not know how to let someone know when abuse is happening.

“We tell them, you know, touch a hot oven, because if you touch a hot oven you’re going to get burned. It’s going to hurt, you’re going to have to go to the doctor. But a lot of times we neglect to have the conversations with our children about body safety and personal safety. And so when we neglect to have a conversation with our kids about what is and isn’t OK, and giving them the ability to say these are things that are happening to me and I’m uncomfortable with that, and giving them that personal awareness to be able to talk about those things, then what happens is they don’t necessarily know what consequence is going to come from that,” Ellis said.

To make an appointment with the Columbia office, call 601-909-6294. The new center is located at 355 2nd Street in Columbia.

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