Molly Sullivan, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277
Chaired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Public Building Commission of Chicago and Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (ChicagoCAC) hosted a groundbreaking on an 18,000-square-foot expansion of the center. The city’s investment of TIF funding for the project will increase ChicagoCAC’s capacity to coordinate investigative services and provide mental health services for abused children.
The groundbreaking event occurred symbolically on April 1, the beginning of Child Abuse Prevention Month. “As communities around the United States shine a spotlight on the realities of child sexual and physical abuse, Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center is a leading model for coordinated services that ensure swift and appropriate interventions on behalf of our city’s most vulnerable children and families,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our investment in this project will help further the inspiring work of Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, and this expansion will allow the center to broaden its reach and continue providing services to families in need.”
The project creates dedicated space for community trainings and improves the quality and number of child- and family-friendly areas for clients. Located at 1240 South Damen Avenue, the facility houses specialized teams from the following public agencies: Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, Chicago Police Department, Cook County Health and Hospitals System and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. More than 2,200 children are referred to ChicagoCAC each year, and the center has served more than 27,000 children since opening in 2001.
Describing the center’s impact, Executive Director Char Rivette affirmed that mental health therapy can change the life trajectory of a child who has experienced sexual or physical violence or other chronic trauma. “Helping children heal from these experiences can improve their overall health, strengthen their relationships with family and friends, and even enrich their educational and employment outcomes,” she said.
The Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) serves as the developer for this project and has coordinated the design and procurement and will now manage the construction of the new addition on behalf of the City of Chicago, with work expected to be complete in December 2014.