The Children’s Advocacy Alliance, whose mission has been to provide guidance, treatment and support for child victims of abuse and neglect, has moved its offices to Conway’s downtown.

The group will hold an open house for facility tours Tuesday at its new location at 707 Parkway Ave., Suite 101 between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m.

In April of last year, the 20th Judicial District of the Court Appointed Special Advocates joined with the Central Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center at a facility on Washington Street to form the Alliance.

In an earlier interview, Tess Fletcher, executive director of the Alliance said that the programs’ pairing made the most sense for affected children.

"These two programs fit hand-in-hand," Fletcher said. "The Children’s Advocacy Center helps reduce the additional trauma a child often experiences during an investigation of abuse and can provide immediate crisis intervention during and after the investigation. 

"The CASA 20th program steps in when a child enters protective custody because of neglect or abuse. A volunteer court appointed advocate can speak for the child in court and help ensure he or she finds a safe, permanent home."

Fletcher said Monday that the Alliance was happily occupying more space in the new center, which is within walking distance of the courthouse, a frequent destination for those whose work takes them to the CAA.

"We are now able to provide a child friendly environment, observation area, and a video conferencing area for case review with UAMS," she said.

Fletcher added that more space meant more confidentiality for families whose appointments were sensitive in nature. 

"We have two separate entrances for our family waiting room. They don’t have to walk through the entire building for an interview," she explained.

The director said that the group has completed more than 100 forensic interviews with child survivors in the past nine months. 

"The need for the Alliance" is stronger now than ever, she said, due to an ongoing recession and its effects on families.

"With the recession still hitting families hard, more an more children are now living in environments that are considered high risk for abuse and neglect," Fletcher said.

The independent nonprofit serves Faulkner, Van Buren, Searcy, Pope and Conway counties. 

For more information about the group, visit www.hopeandjustice.org. 

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)