By HEATHER WALTERS
Prosecutors with the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitors’ Office are helping supply items to the Open Arms Children’s Home, the area’s only home for abused and neglected children.
The 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which is the prosecuting agency for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties, has partnered with the Child Abuse Prevention Association and the 14th Circuit Victims Services Center. As a part of this partnership, the solicitor’s office and its Pre-Trial Intervention Program recently donated a variety of items that the children’s home needed, including toiletries, snacks, school supplies and clothing. The Open Arms Children’s Home (OACH) serves children who are age 12 and older, and who have been removed from an abusive or neglectful situation, according to information provided by the solicitor’s office.
“Our need for the essentials hasn’t stopped. If anything, it is greater,” said Child Abuse Prevention Association Director Christina Wilson. “While the pandemic has staunched our ability to fundraise in a traditional manner, we have the community’s support come through in different ways.”
The Victims Service Center has been working with the shelter to help them receive the items they need for children who are currently living in the shelter. The Victims Service Center is a community initiative, created by the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office and its partners, including the Child Abuse Prevention Association. The initiative brings together professionals to help victims of sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, criminal domestic violence and other crimes. All of these victims, and the professionals who are working together to help them, are within the 14th Judicial Circuit, which includes Colleton County.
The overall mission of this entire initiative is two-fold: to help victims receive what they need and to limit the number of times that a victim has to retell their story to get help. Protecting victims and preventing them from having to retell and relive their abuse has been a priority of Solicitor Duffie Stone. Stone is the elected solicitor, or top prosecutor, for the 14th Circuit.
“The success of the VSC (Victims Service Center) has been in-large part due to partners like CAPA coming together to provide services that are critical to helping victims,” Stone said, in a press release. “It just makes sense to support CAPA in its mission to end child abuse and neglect.”
CAPA opened in 1985 and operates a home for infants, children and young adults up to the age of 21 who have been removed from an abusive or neglectful situation. In 2020, the home cared for 24 children. Each child stayed in the home an average of 136 days. Since it opened its doors, CAPA has helped more than 2,100 children.
To learn more about the Victims Service Center and its community partners, go to https://scsolicitor14.org/victim-services-center. To donate, visit www.capabeaufort.org.