Expansion to Dorchester Children's Center to better serve county's needs

VIDEO: Expansion to Dorchester Children's Center to better serve county's needs

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Census numbers show 25,000 people have moved into Dorchester and Berkeley counties in the past three years; that influx causing a trauma center to expand its services. It's a program that aims to help children who have experienced a life changing event face their problems.

"We're serving over 1,000 children a year, so we need a lot of space," Kay Phillips, Executive Director at Dorchester Children's Center, said.

It's one of the main reasons behind the 6,000 foot addition to the Dorchester Children's Center; the growing population in the county creates that need for more space.

Since 2006 children in Dorchester and Berkeley counties have gone to this center to deal with a traumatic event like abuse or neglect.

"Only about a third of the children who are abused actually come to the attention of the system," Phillips said. "So that's probably the most troubling thing."

There are 17 advocacy centers in the state. They're built with children in mind; soft, calming colors and comfortable chairs in the interview and medical rooms make it a more kid-friendly place than a police station.

"Child victims can't be treated like adults," Phillips said. "They're not adults, and they're not develop-mentally able to handle all of that trauma. So we try to lessen that trauma for the child and the family in a friendlier environment."

The addition was paid for through fund-raising, donations and grants. Your tax dollars also help maintain a small portion of it.

"Voters came in and voted for us to get tax millage to come in and support the center," Phillips said. "We couldn't ask for a more supportive community than what we have."

Phillips feels this expansion will be able to support the growing number of children expected to come through the center in the coming years.

An official ribbon cutting ceremony for the expansion is this Friday followed by an open house for those interested in checking out the building.

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