District Attorney Bill Adair signed papers Tuesday morning to purchase a property on Alabama Avenue that will house the center. The location is at 1601 Alabama Avenue in downtown Jasper, which is an old house that formerly housed the Robinson and Nelson Law Firm.
“This house has a lot of history,” Adair said. “Joel Robinson was a close friend. Throughout his career, he did so much for DHR and the children of Walker County. He would be honored that our center is going to be located at his former office.”
CACs specialize in conducting forensic interviews with children who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse or witnesses of violent crimes. Forensic interviews are conducted in a safe environment by trained professionals. Alabama allows videos of these interviews to be introduced in court to avoid traumatizing the child further.
Child victims in Walker County currently have to wait in line to be interviewed whenever Birmingham’s CAC, Prescott House, has an opening. This holds up police investigations and delays prosecution in many cases.
“I don’t think people realize exactly how big this is for our county,” Adair said. “This is a first step in helping the children of our county for years to come. I feel blessed to be a part of it.”
Adair said the purchase of the house would not have been possible without the generosity of the community.
“This shows what a blessing the people of our area can be,” he said. “People have stepped up and donated enough money that we are able to do this. We couldn’t have done it without each donation that we’ve received. I don’t think there is a way that I can properly thank each and every person who has gone out of their way to make this happen. We appreciate everything that has been done to get this child advocacy center up and running.”
The center should open its doors for clients within the next 40 days, Adair said.
“I would say we will be ready for business in about that time period,” he said. “There are some things that we have to get done. We’ve got to work to make if a child-friendly place, but I think we will start seeing clients in around 40 days.
Red Star Security is expected to install the video equipment it has donated to the center in the near future. Adair said there is also some paving work that needs to be done in the parking lot and on the roadway near the entrance of the parking area.
Adair said he is expecting to hold an open house event for the center.
“Once we get it about ready, we will have a big event outside to show the place off,” he said. “We are in a perfect location. We’re across the street from the library and the police department. Just like those buildings, this facility is going to play a big role in our community.”
For more information, contact Raleigh Dunham at the DA’s office at (205)384-7272. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Walker County Children’s Advocacy Center, P. O. Box 2187, Jasper, AL 35502.