LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan House on Tuesday approved Sen. Jim Stamas’ legislation to help children’s advocacy centers protect Michigan children. The bill now heads to the Senate to be enrolled and sent to the governor to be signed.
“Children’s advocacy centers are safe, child-friendly facilities where law enforcement officials, child protection workers, medical professionals and victim advocates work together on child abuse cases,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “These centers play an important role in helping support children who have been abused. By offering a place that is more warm and inviting to a child than a police station, these centers give us the best chance to help children heal from abuse and hold their offenders accountable.”
Senate Bill 1021 would allow a confidential record about child abuse and neglect filed with the Department of Health and Human Services to be disclosed to a children’s advocacy center in the course of providing services to a victim of child abuse or child neglect or to the child’s family.
Bethany Law of Midland and Tom Knapp of Wyoming testified in support of the bill during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. Knapp is executive director of the Michigan Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance (MINCA). Law is legislative chair for MINCA and is executive director of Northern Michigan Mobile Child Advocacy Center.
Yvonne Cameron, director of intervention service at Care House Children’s Advocacy Center in Oakland County, joined Knapp in speaking before the House Judiciary Committee.
“Allowing children’s advocacy centers access to abuse and neglect information is critical to helping support young victims,” Stamas said. “This legislation is part of an ongoing effort to ensure the best possible outcomes for victims of child abuse, and I look forward to seeing the governor sign it into law.”