Malouf Foundation™ Announces First Children’s Justice Center in Muskingum County
August 30, 2021
Heroes Landing™ Children’s Justice Center will offer comprehensive support for child abuse survivors
ZANESVILLE, Ohio—The Malouf Foundation™ has announced their plans to establish the first children’s justice center (CJC) in Muskingum County, Ohio. A national model for CJCs, Heroes Landing™ Children’s Justice Center seeks to provide advocacy, justice and care for child abuse survivors and their families—empowering them to become the heroes of their own stories.
CJCs are child-focused facilities that help abused children heal by coordinating the investigation and treatment of child physical and sexual abuse. At a CJC, a child tells their story once to a trained interviewer so they don’t have to recount their trauma again. Based on the interview, a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) decides together how to best help the child. An MDT consists of medical professionals, law enforcement, social workers and mental health specialists and advocates who offer a wide variety of services.
“The Malouf Foundation™ works closely with CJC programs as part of our mission to promote healing and ensure justice for survivors,” said Kacie Malouf, co-founder and board chair of the Malouf Foundation™. “Through a community connection, we became aware of the need for a CJC in Muskingum County, and we wanted to help. We have seen the life-changing impact of other CJCs, so we’re excited to bring these services to children in Muskingum County who have experienced traumatic situations.”
According to a 2020 community assessment report by the Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers (ONCAC), 27 percent of children in Ohio have had two or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which includes multiple forms of abuse. Plus, over 110 child sexual abuse cases were reported across Muskingum County in 2020. Survivors in Muskingum County currently are referred to Columbus, which is over an hour away. Because of the distance barrier, many children aren’t able to receive the support they need.
Muskingum County Prosecuting Attorney Ron Welch shared, “Establishing a CJC here will allow a large and increasing number of abused children to be interviewed, examined and treated locally instead of having to travel to another county. With this center, we can also offer support to children’s families or caregivers.”
Heroes Landing™ Executive Director Evonne Saunders added, “I look forward to Heroes Landing™ offering the resources so critically needed to child survivors of abuse. I continue to be humbled and impressed by Muskingum County’s support in our vision to offer medical assistance, mental health services and advocacy under one roof.”
A Heroes Landing™ advisory board has been formed, consisting of Muskingum County representatives as well as Malouf Foundation™ team members. Additionally, an MDT is meeting monthly to review cases. Heroes Landing™ is a member of the Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and is working toward national accreditation. For more information, visit heroeslandingcjc.org or email email@example.com.