United Way Invests $300,000 To Treat Children That’re Victims of Abuse

The organization gave the grant to the Red River Children's Advocacy Center

FARGO, N.D. — Last year the Red River Children’s Advocacy Center treated more than 600 kids who have been abused.

Now thanks to the United Way, they’ll be able to treat even more kids, for free.

When traumatized kids walk into the center, there’s usually a dark cloud hanging over them.

“They’re broken and they’re hurting, they feel like the world isn’t safe,” said Nicola Herting, mental health director at RRAC.

But when they leave, it’s a much different story.

“These kids become brave and their resilience is up and they are ready to achieve their hopes and dreams,” Herting said.

It’s why Herting says she even got into her career.

And it’s now why the United way is donating $300,000 to the advocacy center.

“As a community, we’ve seen lately just how traumatic child abuse is and can be for families and children. We need to make sure that we are rallying our communities children,” said Kristi Huber, president at the United Way. ‘If they have been victims of abuse or trauma, we need to help them get the resources they need as soon as possible.”

The United Way’s investment will help the advocacy center to conduct forensic interviews and increase access to research based, comprehensive mental health services for children and their families who are victims of abuse.

Mental health experts at the RRAC also say the United Way’s support will help them to fight the stigma against mental health.

“The only way that kids can get better is if they have access to the services that they need and part of that is being able to reduce that stigma,” Herting said.

The advocacy center mostly treats kids who are victims of sexual abuse or physical abuse, and 90 percent of them tend to know their abuser.

That’s why Herting says the entire community has to come together to stop child abuse.

“We as a community have to respond. It’s not just one person. It’s all of us coming together to know how do we keep our kids safe and how do we respond appropriately when there are concerns,” Herting said.

Children who are abused typically have symptoms similar to PTSD.

Since 2004, the Red River Valley Children’s Advocacy Center has treated more than 5,000 abused kids.

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