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Child advocacy center support bill heading to governor’s desk

The Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (WIBC-FM) — Child advocacy centers are a place of support and strength for abused children. A bill heading to the governor’s desk would give a new boost to the efforts of advocacy centers across Indiana.

House Bill 1123 essentially lays out a few standard quality expectations for child advocacy centers. That comes down to things like requiring checks and guidelines to make sure advocacy center employees and investigators have proper, up-to-date training. The bill would also require multi-person, expert teams to be assembled between child advocacy centers and the Department of Child Services.

“In the state of Indiana, approximately 60 children die every year from neglect and abuse,” said State Rep. John Bartlett (D-Indianapolis) in a Friday press release, “what is not counted in that death toll is all of the suffering children endure in these horrendous situations. Child advocacy centers are essential to make investigations go smoothly because they are specifically suited to work with children in a way that avoids any further trauma.”

House Bill 1123 would also create a layer of civil immunity that would protect center employees and staff in certain situations.

It also allows child advocacy centers to have access to previous confidential information if it is necessary for an investigation.

“Hurting a child is one of the most despicable things one can do in this life. The perpetrators of child abuse and neglect must be brought to justice and put behind bars as swiftly as possible,” said State Rep. Bartlett.

All amendments to the bill have been accepted. It now needs Governor Eric Holcomb’s signature.