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Central Alabama Regional Child Agency celebrates 10-year anniversary

The Central Alabama Regional Child Advocacy Center celebrated its 10th anniversary Wednesday at its Selma headquarters.

The CAC held an Open House on 420 B Broad Street to celebrate “A Decade of making a difference” in an effort to honor child abuse victims and raise awareness. They held a tour of the facility.

The non-profit organization serves five counties: Bibb, Dallas, Hale, Perry and Wilcox.

The CAC became a safe, friendly place for child victims of sexual or physical abuse through partnerships with the District Attorney’s office, law enforcement agencies, the Department of Human Resources, financial support from grants, foundations and individual donors.

“Each interview offered an opportunity to help a child,” CAC Executive Director Lauri Cothran said. “Many children who visit the center have experienced unimaginable treatment, but with the help of our amazing interviewers, they are somehow able to talk about it. I am proud of our Center’s work and hope to continue helping children for many more years.”

Bibb County Probate Judge and CAC President Stephanie Kemmer presented Cothran a plaque for 10 years of service.

“We’re giving a voice to the voiceless and we’re providing a place for abused children,” Kemmer said.

Alabama Courthouse Facility Dogs was announced as a new partner.

“It’s something dear to my heart to help children that are abused,” said Tony Willingham of Office of Protection Services.

Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Jackson, who presides over the CAC area, helped started the organization years ago.

“The CAC has really grown under the present leadership,” Jackson said. “The CAC allows victims to have a one-stop facility to get to the bottom of how that child may have been victimized without having to repeat the same things to different agencies at different times. We now have one of the Child Advocacy Centers in the state. Laura Cothran has done a wonderful job.”

Lydia Chatmon of Selma AIR said CAC is critical to the area.

“As far as I know, they are the only agency that conducts the appropriate forensic interviews where child molestation or sequel assault has occurred,” Chatmon said. “I also think they are the only agency to provide free mandatory reporter trainings. I’ve gone through their MRT and it’s a valuable tool for adults in our community.”