Spotlight Agency | April 2014
Ginnie’s House – Sussex County Children’s Advocacy Center
Children’s Advocacy Centers:
- Ginnie’s House is a non-profit community based facility which provides comprehensive care and coordinated referrals to victims of criminal child abuse in Sussex County.
- While focusing on the needs of the child and the non-offending family, the staff at Ginnie’s House can help reduce the secondary trauma that an investigation could have.
- The environment is designed to ensure the child feels as physically (secured facility) and psychologically (no known offenders are permitted on-site, and no uniformed law enforcement) safe and comfortable as possible.
- Collaboration between prosecution, law enforcement and child protective services ensures a comprehensive and coordinated safety plan for the child and maximizes criminal investigation.
- Case coordination throughout the criminal justice process ensures appropriate services are available to the child and non-offending caregivers. This is particularly important during trial.
- Medical evaluations provided on-site ensure any forensic evidence is secured, and provides the physician with an opportunity to diagnose and treat any conditions, and offer reassurance to the child that his/her body is OK.
- Therapeutic, educational and group supports and advocacy are provided appropriately to non-offending caregivers.
- Child abuse victims are provided on-site therapy relative to issues of abuse and trauma.
- All services are provided without cost to the child and family.
- Ginnie’s House seeks to provide community education and awareness regarding child abuse recognition, reporting and the local response.
- Ginnie’s House works with partner agencies to provide on-going professional education regarding child abuse and related issues.
Our Mission: TO PROVIDE A CHILD FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENT WHERE CHILDREN ARE HELPED THROUGH COORDINATED EFFORTS OF CHILD PROTECTION, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND PROSECUTION, HEALTHCARE AND MENTAL HEALTH AGENCIES WHEN CHILD ABUSE IS SUSPECTED, DISCLOSED OR REPORTED.
HISTORY OF GINNIE’S HOUSE
Ginnie’s House CAC was founded in October 1995 as a non-profit Board of Directors. The need for a Children’s Advocacy Center was realized by then County Prosecutor Dennis O’Leary who was determined that child victims of criminal abuse would not be re-traumatized by the very systems which were involved in ensuring that offenders were apprehended and prosecuted as fully as possible.
Virginia “Ginnie” Littell, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Saint Clare’s in Sussex, became aware of the desperate need for quality treatment for child abuse victims in the County, especially mental health services. Together, she and Prosecutor O’Leary worked with then Assemblyman Robert E. Littell, the Board of Chosen Freeholders in Sussex County, DCP&P and the judiciary to develop a comprehensive program for the investigation and treatment of child abuse in Sussex County. Ginnie’s House is the ‘entry’ into that system.
The County of Sussex supports the program by permitting the historic Park Building, in the heart of Newton, to be used as the Children’s Advocacy Center. The Center is admirably positioned on bus routes, close to the County Court House, the Prosecutor’s Office, the local office of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, and the Sheriff’s Office. Parking for clients is available in the street or in the courthouse parking lot.
The building was completely refurbished inside for specific purposes. Architectural and decorating plans were donated. Since the grand opening in November 1997, countless hours of community volunteers have been donated to augment the physical space.
Since the first child client was interviewed in Ginnie’s House in early 1998, over 500 Sussex County children have been interviewed in the facility, and many, many more have received mental health therapeutic services.
Ginnie’s House is the first step in the road to survivorship from child sexual abuse. We humbly thank those whose ongoing commitment to this center ensure that each child receives comfort, healing, hope and justice through the center.
For more information: www.ginnieshouse.org or call 973-579-0770.