Child Protect seeks donations for the holidays

Published 3:18 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

According to Jana Zuelzke of Child Protect, Chilton County’s child advocacy center, child abuse happens to children from all different walks of life.

“Child abuse does not happen to a certain race, a certain socioeconomic class or a certain culture,” Zuelzke said. “It happens everywhere.”

Zuelzke said the children that Child Protect serves will spend the Christmas holiday in many different ways.

“Many times abuse happens by a family member,” Zuelzke said. “This Christmas some of the families may be dealing with problems and issues relating to the abuse being [in the family]. Christmas is a time when families gather together and it will definitely be different for many this year.”

Zuelzke said there is a certain sadness that comes with the holiday for many of the children involved in an abusive atmosphere, which is why Child Protect is asking for donations.

“Without donations from the community, our center cannot continue to provide services locally,” Zuelzke said. “Having a local office has been a blessing to so many families because they are able to benefit from all of the services. If victimized children do not have a chance to heal from the abuse, many times they have behavioral problems and mental illness.”

Zuelzke said sometimes the mental illnesses could result in suicide, substance abuse and adult criminality.

“Our intervention is so important,” Zuelzke said. “The donations will help us continue to fulfill our mission of getting justice and healing for these children.”

Zuelzke said Child Protect serves more than 100 children annually in Chilton County that range in age from 3-17 years old and have experienced trauma such as sexual or physical abuse, witnessed violence or have been severely neglected.

Zuelzke said anyone interested in donating money to the center is invited to make a monetary contribution in honor or memory of someone and support abused children in the community. Once Child Protect receives the donations a card will be made by a child acknowledging that the donation has been made in honor or in memory of someone and sent to the person who made the donation.

“All of the money donated will help our center continue to provide services locally to child victims of abuse in Chilton County,” Zuelzke said. “The services are all free to the families.”

Some of the services Child Protect offers include forensic interviews at the request of local law enforcement and DHR, trauma-focused therapy, advocacy and coordination of the local multi-disciplinary team of professionals who investigate child abuse cases.

Anyone interested in donating can make checks payable to Child Protect and mail to P.O. Box 558, Clanton 35046.

Zuelzke said the donations are tax deductible and donors will receive a donation receipt in the mail.

“If the donation is made in honor or memory of someone we ask that you include the name and address of where you would like an acknowledgement sent,” Zuelzke said.

Zuelzke said to also include a phone number with the donation in case Child Protect needs to ask questions about the donations made in honor or memory.

For more information, call 755-4205.