'Making a difference for kids': County commissioners approve lease for center in DeFuniak Springs

Published: Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 04:54 PM.

Now, the next step is surveying the property on College Avenue in DeFuniak Springs. Architect Allen McGinnis will be handling building plans.

"My vision is to be open within the next year," Hurst said. "April would be a great time to celebrate Child Abuse Prevention Month."

Since the Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center (ECCAC) opened in October 2000, the accredited center has served Okaloosa and Walton County from its Niceville office. In April 2012, the center began renting a small space in DeFuniak Springs with the intention of finding permanent space.

 The non-profit agency provides services to prevent child abuse, reduces the trauma of sexual and physical abuse, protects and treats child victims and families while holding offenders accountable and restores the lives and futures of abused, neglected and drug-endangered children and their families. Law enforcement, prosecution, therapists, social workers and a child protection team work under one roof to better serve child victims of abuse. And all services are free of charge.

The center has already received sponsorship from the Republican Women's Club of Walton County and Graham Fountain at the Walton County Sheriff's Office and is looking for more support in terms of donations of time and money.

"We're out there in the community identifying people to be a part of the steering committee," Hurst said.


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