Nonprofit relocates headquarters


The Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County is a "child-centered" nonprofit that "coordinates the community response" to child sexual abuse. Courtesy CAC

A local nonprofit focused on confronting child sexual abuse has opened a new $2.3-million headquarters.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County recently moved to a 14,000-square-foot space in Grand Rapids, at 2855 Michigan St. NE.

The move is from a 6,000-square-foot space in Grand Rapids, at 901 Michigan St. NE.

The nonprofit has grown significantly in the past 25 years, according to its development coordinator, Tatum Hawkins, and the previous space was far too small.

“Despite our creative efforts to use our space, our facility was not adequate to meet the current demand for services, let alone any future increases,” Hawkins said.

Interviews and examinations had to be delayed, and clients had to be referred elsewhere to receive more timely help.

“In our new space, the wait time for a child to begin therapy will go from three months to two weeks,” Hawkins said. “We will be able to conduct more than one forensic interview at a time, which means more cases can be investigated, and families can get connected to services faster. There will also be ample space to provide group and family therapy sessions.”

The move was made possible through donations to the nonprofit’s More Must Be Done capital campaign, which raised $3 million.

The main floor includes various elements: lobby; forensic suite with three interview rooms, three meeting rooms and an office; group, play and family therapy rooms; a medical exam room; six therapy offices; three meeting rooms; staff offices; and more.

The lower level includes additional offices and meeting rooms, as well as a kitchen and an investigative suite for law enforcement and Children’s Protective Services partners.

The Children’s Advocacy Center purchased the space from Michigan Avenue Partnership.

Chris Atwater from Michigan Commercial Space Advisors was the broker.

The architect was Richard Craig from Grand Rapids- based Craig Architects. The contractor was Grand Rapids-based Triangle Associates. The interior designer was Custer.

The nonprofit is working toward having its building LEED certified.

There are 18 Children’s Advocacy Center staff and 12 law enforcement and CPS partners. The executive director is Susan Shannon.

Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County

The Children’s Advocacy Center is a child-centered organization that coordinates the community response to child sexual abuse.

It brings together under one roof all the resources an abused child might need, including child protective services, law enforcement and medical professionals, and provides them free of charge.

It also educates and empowers children and adults throughout the community to prevent abuse.

There are more than 900 Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country.

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