Child Protect office to open

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, September 17, 2009

Volunteers are busy prepping the future location of Child Protect’s satellite office in south Clanton.

Child Protect is a children’s advocacy center that assists law enforcement and the Department of Human Resources in child abuse cases. For the past 20 years, the Montgomery-based center has served Chilton, Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery counties.

The new satellite office will be located in Lumac Plaza on Lumac Drive across from Dollar General.

“What we’re trying to do is create a warm, inviting, soothing atmosphere for the kids,” said Jana Conlee, forensic interviewer and therapist.

Local artist Bunni Miller is working with kids to provide children’s artwork for the center.

Also, several groups are partnering in a landscape design project.

These include the Chilton County Master Gardeners, Petals from the Past, and LeCroy Career/Technical Center. Equipment is being provided by SunSouth.

Other volunteers are renovating the site.

Conlee thanked J. Sam Johnson and his mother, Betty, for donating building materials.

She also thanked Curtis Mathis and David and Diana Hiott for their recent donation of a brand new laptop computer and printer for the office.

Once complete, the satellite office will allow Child Protect to conduct forensic interviews within the county.

“First, we are keeping the child and family in mind by making our services more accessible,” Conlee said. “On the other side, when a forensic interview is conducted, we also have to have a law enforcement agency and social workers present.”

Child Protect will share the building with Renee Smith & Associates, a counseling group that offered rental space to the organization.

“She really has a heart for what we do,” Conlee said. “It will be a really good partnership. After a forensic interview is done with a child, they need counseling or mental health therapy, and Renee will be able to provide that.”

The office is expected to open in October.