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More help is on way for local children

On an enormous sheet of white paper taped to a wall waist-high, the simple, scrawled handwriting by local children belies the heartbreaking complexities of their problems.

“I'm sad because I was hurt in my bed.”

“Fighting is not good.”

Now counselors who try to heal the emotional scars left on children by sexual abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, and other traumas have nearly $1 million in federal aid to help them do their jobs.

At the Children's Advocacy Center near Toledo Hospital yesterday, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) announced a three-year, $943,557 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will expand services that are provided, in part, by the Advocacy Center.

“Many times, if a child is troubled, it's hard to detect,” Miss Kaptur said. “We all have to be frontline troubleshooters.”

The grant will establish the Northwest Ohio Child Trauma Community Practice Center, said Kris Buffington, the project director and associate director of the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center, the umbrella organization of the Children's Advocacy Center.

She said the new program will “partner” with other agencies, law enforcement entities, and schools to identify and assist children who are dealing with personal turmoil but who are not yet in the system or don't fit into the existing services.

For example, a child may be traumatized by the events of Sept. 11 or suffering after becoming a crime victim.

But because the child does not have an identified mental illness, fit into a certain income bracket, or has been victimized by a family member, he or she does not “fit” into existing services.

“We're a no-charge, no-obstacles service,” she said.

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