On Thursday, Cook told Advisory Board members she had applied for a Victims of Crime Act grant and a JAG grant.
"The VOCA funding in the state went to victims advocates, but we did get $75,000 from the JAG grant, which we had not expected," Cook said. "Also the Logan County Commission came forward very graciously and gave us a grant for several thousand."
Cook said the Logan CAC, which investigates child abuse and neglect cases and gathers information for court through forensic interviews, had more good news. "We have been accepted with the Neighborhood Investment Program and we got $4,000 in tax credit benefits which can be used by those making a $500 contribution to the center, so we are very pleased with that.
Even though the CAC is a governmental agency, it is not funded by the state or the county and has been operating on donations from the Logan County Commission, the state, grants and fundraisers. The center has been so successful in gathering evidence for cases that other counties are sending representatives to Logan to look into how it's center operates and was set up.
Cook said the Logan County Commission had even more good news for the CAC.
"They are going to start doing renovations for new space at the center soon," Cook said, noting that more office space, a waiting room and a storage facility are in the works for the center, which is currently located on the ground floor at the old Southern Annex beneath family court. "That should take care of us for awhile."
Cook also spoke about the possibility of the center obtaining two more forensic interviewers, one of whom would work exclusively for the center. Forensic interviewers are specially trained to deal with abuse cases and interview children in a private setting where law enforcement officials, attorneys and officers of the court can ask the interviewer questions through an ear piece. The interviews are video recorded so the child does not have to make several rounds testifying over and over again.
Cook said the center has been very busy lately with ten new cases to investigate in the past month, one of which may turn out to be a multiple victim case. Four of the investigated cases will be presented to the grand jury in September. Cook noted that some offenders in cases investigated have arranged guilty plea arrangements with prosecutors.
Judge Roger Perry noted that unless the prosecutor lets him know about the pleas made with assistance from the CAC, he doesn't usually know about it until it is time for sentencing.
Perry noted that he prefers to let the trained professionals in the CAC handle interviews with children because "its' the better way."
The Logan CAC had 23 open cases in August with ten new cases for a total of 33. Several of the closed cases were resolved with guilty pleas. Cook noted that not all cases are about sex abuse some cases involve child abuse, severe neglect or domestic violence. The center is seeing more and more serious neglect cases. In order to use the center's service a law enforcement agency must refer them.
Cook said she would like to put together a child abuse and neglect case training session for local municipal police agencies. Judge Roger Perry, who helped start the process that got Logan its CAC, said that he had observed some of the training done by forensic interviewers and felt it would benefit attorneys as well.
Cook said the Logan CAC has stayed very busy and she is "pretty satisfied, with what we have done."
In other CAC news:
•The Logan CAC may be handling cases from the Harts area. Lincoln County sent representatives to the center last week. Cook noted that the Logan CAC can work cases for other counties and manage cases through agreements.
• Cook said new personnel policies and bylaws for board members were being adopted.
•Cook said she would like to get some mental health services available for non-offender parents the center sees. "I would like to see a support group for them too," she added.