Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Announces Collaboration With The Friends Of The Ocean County Child Advocacy Center

Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford announced today the achievement of an important step in the process of upgrading the Special Victims Unit of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office (OCPO) to become a fully accredited Child Advocacy Center.

Prosecutor Ford explained the process:

“Last year I asked a few prominent members of the Ocean County community to work with me to achieve accreditation for our Child Advocacy Center, which is located within the Special Victims Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office. One criterion for accreditation is to demonstrate community support for this process. At my request, retired Superior Court Judge Barbara Villano, a tireless advocate for children in our community, agreed to serve as chair of the Friends of the Ocean County Child Advocacy Center.

“Judge Villano recently informed me that a certificate of Incorporation for this entity has been filed, and that the process of achieving nonprofit Sec. 501 (c) (3) status has been completed, as notified by the Internal Revenue Service. This will enable this entity to receive donations from the community and, with the approval of the Board of Directors, to acquire equipment and other items on behalf of the Child Advocacy Center.”

The Friends of the Ocean County Child Advocacy Center Board is composed of The Hon. Barbara A. Villano, (J.S.C., retired); The Hon. Robert Fall (J.S.C. retired), Former Ocean County Prosecutor and Senator James Holzapfel, Toms River Attorney Harvey York and Ocean County businesswoman and philanthropist, Rosanne Citta. Up until his untimely death in January, former Ocean County Prosecutor Dan Carluccio was also an active board member.

The OCPO has been working for some time with the National Children’s Alliance (NCA), which provides training and technical assistance to communities establishing and strengthening Children’s Advocacy Centers. There are ten NCA standards for accreditation, one of them being organizational structure which includes an element of community support with a community advisory board. The formation of the Friends of the Ocean County Child Advocacy Center meets one of those important accreditation standards.

Prosecutor Ford continued, “Accreditation by the National Children’s Alliance is recognition that we have attained a certain level of services for the crime victims we serve. Our SVU unit has in fact operated for many years consistent with certain accreditation goals: the facility is family and child friendly, incorporates a multidisciplinary team approach, allows for forensic (legal) interviews on site, and provides for referral for therapeutic intervention and victim support and advocacy. However, the building was shared with another unit of the prosecutor’s office (in other words, it was not exclusive to this mission); it did not have the medical component (forensic medical examinations were conducted at local hospital emergency rooms) and we did not have a public advisory board.

With the cooperation of the Ocean County Board of Freeholders, we were able to relocate one unit out of this building, thus meeting the goal of providing a location exclusively dedicated to provide services for victims of abuse, neglect, assault etc. In addition, an on site examination room is now completed, and needs only to be equipped and furnished. Finally, support for this project has come from the public in the form of the formation of the Friends of the Ocean County Child Advocacy Center.

“On Monday, July 9, 2012, I will welcome the Board members to the Child Advocacy Center, located at 7 Hadley Avenue in Toms River, so that they can view the progress on changes to that building, and also so that they can accept a check in the amount of $10,000 from Victoria Magliacane Senior VP and Regional Manager for Investors Bank, which has agreed to provide “seed money” to fund the purchase of certain medical equipment. We would also like to acknowledge the early support given to us by Community Medical Center, Stephanie Bloom, President and CEO. When Stephanie heard about this project, she immediately arranged for the donation of surplus medical supplies and a computer from CMC. “

“An on site forensic examination room will help to minimize trauma to victims. When appropriate, the option of an on site forensic medical examination will avoid the process of interviewing a child at the Child Advocacy Center, and then conducting another interview and examination at a local emergency room. This is not a preferred process, since there is great potential for re-victimizing the child,” explained Prosecutor Ford. TLS.

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  1. The Prosecutors Office apparently will start to arrest and prosecute those who protect or fail to notify of child predators. Not only will the predators be charged, but those who fail to notify the proper authorities will be charged. This is probably the result of the Sandovsky situation at Penn State, the situation in the Catholic Church and the failure of the Orthodox Community to notify and cooperate in child abuse cases. We must protect our children from predators.

  2. Will someone please explain this post in plain English. What is being developed, for what purpose, etc.

    Thank you.

    P.S. At risk of sounding politically incorrect, great priority must be given to protect victims, especially children, true; but care must be taken, as well, to do this rationally and not to witchhunt or scapegoat.

  3. simple-google ‘child advocacy center’ and you will find many websites describing what exactly it is. then you can understand what ocean county has just developed. it is good news.

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