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Better Help for Children Suffering from Abuse in Bradford County

Edith Jordan felt as if she were walking back in time when she became director of the children's house last December and saw the lack of resources used to help sexually and physically abused children in Bradford County

"The center was built in 1990 and when I came in at the time there wasn't a lot of updates and improvements done to the center," Jordan said.

Now just over a year later the center not only has better resources but a team made up of members of children youth services, the DA's office and law enforcement who are dedicated to helping abused children

"The team comes from all different professionals and each profession has its own particular challenges. We each have something to contribute," Daniel Barrett, District Attorney of Bradford County.

When a child is brought to the children's house he or she undergoes a special type of interview called a forensic interview. It's a recorded interview with a trained forensic interviewer. The rest of the team watches it live in a back office. This helps prevent the child from having to be interviewed several times by different people in different places.

"It's easier for a child to only be interviewed one time. It's traumatic to continue to tell your story over and over and over again," Forensic Interviewer Jen Watson said.

Another part of the changes along with security to the building in the last year is this play center. It's designed to make the child feel more comfortable and do better in the interview process.

The center also added a private exam room with a bathroom to give the child privacy if a physical exam is needed.

The children's center has helped nearly 100 abused children this year, a 70 percent increase from last year. So while Edith may have walked back into time when she began last year, she feels that with the help of the entire community they've made a lifetime of change.

If you, or a child or family that you know of need help dealing with physical or sexual abuse, you can call the Pennsylvania State Child Line at 1-800-932-0313. Or visit the Children's House website at www.childrenshousepa.org.

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