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ACU students, professor secure grant to protect abused children

By Floyd Miller



Abilene Christian University students and faculty are working together to ensure that Abilene area children get the help they need from the Abilene/Taylor County Child Advocacy Center . {{more}}Two graduate psychology students, Ashley Berres from Lakeville, Minn. and Spenser Baldwin from Memphis, have worked with Dr. Jeffrey Wherry, professor of psychology at ACU, to submit a grant on behalf of the CAC for more than $40,000. This past week, the CAC was notified that they had been awarded the grant through funds contributed by the Children’s Justice Act.”The CAC grant application was part of an assignment for my graduate class in child and adolescent development,” said Wherry. “Class members worked in small groups to help various local non-profit agencies. The CAC was one of those agencies.”According to the grant proposal, the monies would allow for the funding of a full-time, dedicated staff member to perform forensic interviews of children who have alleged sexual abuse. Historically, the CAC has trained Child Protective Services workers to do the interviews, but the rapid turnover of staff means that the agency can no longer afford this, Wherry said.”This will better help the CAC to accomplish its goal of conducting quality investigative interviews of child victims, while still showing a high degree of caring and concern for the child and promoting their healthy recovery from the incident,” said Ken Merchant, assistant chief of Abilene Police Department. “We are extremely thankful to Dr. Wherry and his students for pursuing and obtaining a grant that we might not have had the time to pursue ourselves. This is just another example of the high level of cooperation that exists between Abilene Christian University and the Abilene Police Department.”

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