Moving is never an easy thing to do, and some cases it can be downright impossible. And moving the Heart-2-Heart Child Advocacy Center looked downright impossible when the board learned the city of Newton was making plans for the second floor offices in City Hall currently being used for the advocacy center.
“That space has been a real blessing for Heart-2-Heart,” said chief of police Jim Daily. Daily also serves on the board of Heart-2-Heart. “The city has been very generous and provided that space.”
The space was provided rent free and utility free — making it much easier for the center to meet budget and provide services to children who are victims of abuse and neglect.
But Daily and the Newton Police Department are apparently doing too good of a job — Daily the city needs the space to expand municipal court.
The search proved to be shorter than expected — the Masonic Lodge offered office space formerly occupied by Cornerstone Law rent-free for six months, allowing the center to ease into a new budget that will include expenses never before incurred.
“Our motive was this is a good cause and a lot of people support it,” said Adrian McCulloch, president of the Masonic Board of Managers. “We are going to do our part. We are an organization centered on friendship, morality, brotherly love and philanthropy.”
Packing and moving has already started, well ahead of schedule for the center. The hunt for more funding to pay rent and utilities has started.
“This is a time when funds are being cut for non-profits,” said director Marlene Beeson. “I’m having to find funding for all (rent and utilities).”
The center is up for reaccreditation in 2012, meaning the move is coming at a good time. The center will need to meet some building standards as part of the accreditation process, and moving now will allow the center to be ready for that process.
“We can’t in law enforcement digress 10 years to where we used to be,” Daily said.
“We can’t go back to the days of investigating the case, throwing the case to the county attorney and saying we’re done,” said Sheriff and center founder T. Walton. “The kid is not done.”
The 10 year old center has helped get other centers in area counties off the ground, and served as a model for how abuse and neglect cases can be handled.
At the center trained interviewers can record a child’s testimony, eliminating the need for multiple interviews and re-traumatization of the child.
“We can go to one spot,” Daily said. “That alone is a tremendous benefit. As a tool for law enforcement it has been a great tool to do interviews.”
The center has installed video equipment, mirrored windows for an interview room and offices — all will need to be moved to the new location.
“When we first moved into the city building, we knew it would be temporary,” Beeson said. “We have had a long 10-year temporary stay.”