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Dee Norton to open 2nd Lowcountry child advocacy center

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The Lowcountry’s second Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center will open Friday, doubling the number of families served in the region.

“It’s marking the halfway point in our overall expansion, but it’s hugely monumental for the center to open our second location,” said Carole Swiecicki, Executive Director and CEO of the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center.

The center will hold a grand opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday at its new Long Point Road location in Mount Pleasant. It will provide services for children who have been sexually or physically assaulted or abused.

“Child abuse can happen in any family and it happens east of the Cooper,” Swiecicki said “We have been able to help thousands of families from across our whole region at our center downtown. But we’ve been at capacity for at least three years.” She said the Long Point Road location will serve 1,500 families, with the downtown location serving 2,000 families once its fully renovated. She also added that only about one third of all children living east of the Cooper received proper treatment for physical and sexual abuse before the new center opened.

The centers provide forensic services, medical examinations, mental health assessments, and evidence-based therapies, among others.

“The children that come to us we consider the lucky ones because we know not all children disclose abuse in childhood,” Swiecicki added. “If they’re able to get healing services, they can put abuse behind them and if we aren’t here they might struggle to find the place get those healing services.”

The group raised $5 million, which is being used to renovate the downtown location and was also used to purchase and renovate the Long Point Road location. Nearly all funds were received from private donations, according to Swiecicki. Federal grant funds also helped furnish the new site.

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