Thankful for Butterfly Bridge

Published 12:37 pm Monday, March 20, 2017


Butterfly Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center is a valuable resource for the county.

On a recent tour of the nonprofit’s building, executive director Jana Zeulzke explained that before advocacy centers like Butterfly Bridge existed, multiple agencies conducted separate interviews with each child who reported suffering abuse. There were limited opportunities for cooperation between police, child protection services and the judicial system when conducting interviews.

Not only was this process hard on a child, it was ineffective. A child might change their answer after being interviewed multiple times, likely because they wondered if they were giving the wrong answer and would have to interview until they got it right. As a result, the evidence gathered from these interviews would often hold up poorly in court.

At Butterfly Bridge, investigators and law enforcement can observe via live feed during children’s interviews with qualified professionals. Children who are suspected of having suffered abuse are interviewed just once in a calm, safe environment with specially trained interviewers who know how to ask children about traumatic events in language they understand, without leading them to a specific answer.

Each interview is recorded and filed at the center, and a copy is sent to the appropriate investigators. This process ensures the most accurate account from the child and helps agencies discover the truth and take appropriate action.

Children and adolescents can also come back to the center after the initial forensic interview for therapy.

The importance of taking action when you suspect a child is being abused cannot be overstated. Children often delay reporting abuse because they have been threatened, do not know the right person to tell or do not understand what has happened to them.

For a list of indicators of child abuse, visit

To report abuse, call Chilton County Department of Human Resources at 205-280-2000 and ask to speak with the child abuse/neglect intake worker. You can also call the county sheriff’s department or your local police department.

Butterfly Bridge is a nonprofit organization and relies heavily on donations and grants. The offices are located at 603 2nd Avenue North in Clanton.