Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, Public Building Commission Dedicate 18,000-square-foot Expansion

New spaces nearly double center's square footage, allow for enhanced services for abused children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6/18/2015
Julie O’Brien, Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, (312) 492-3721
Molly Sullivan, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (ChicagoCAC) and the Public Building Commission today hosted a dedication ceremony for the new 18,000-square-foot expansion of the center. Chicago’s First Lady Amy Rule joined officials from ChicagoCAC, their partners and the PBC in cutting the ribbon.

The city’s investment of TIF funding for the project has allowed ChicagoCAC to increase its capacity to coordinate investigative services and provide support for children who have been sexually abused.

“Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center is a leading model for coordinated services that ensure swift and appropriate interventions on behalf of our city’s most vulnerable children and families,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Our investment in this project also serves as a model for public/private partnerships and collaborations while allowing ChicagoCAC to broaden its reach to serve more families in need.”

The expansion doubles the center’s capacity to provide mental health services for children who are sexually abused, adds dedicated space for professional and community trainings, improves the quality and number of child- and family-friendly areas for clients and ensures that the physical environment of the center is trauma-informed and conducive to collaboration among members of the center’s co-located, multi-disciplinary teams.

Describing the impact of the center’s new space, Executive Director Char Rivette affirmed that the additional space can truly change lives. “Our new addition allows us to expand our services for more children and families who need us. With additional therapy spaces, we’ve hired more therapists and begun serving more families – helping them overcome the trauma of abuse. We’ve also begun hosting trainings in our new Education Center, where professionals and community members learn to prevent, recognize, respond to and report abuse. Together, we’re able to help children heal and keep them safe.”

Located at 1240 South Damen Avenue, the facility houses specialized teams from the following public agencies: Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, Chicago Police Department, Cook County Health and Hospitals System and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Center staff coordinate the public partners’ investigations, arrange families’ visits to the center, conduct forensic interviews and provide family advocacy and mental health services aimed at reducing trauma so that children and families may begin the healing process. More than 2,200 children are referred to ChicagoCAC each year, and the center has served more than 27,000 children since opening in 2001

The city’s commitment of $9 million in funding from the Western/Ogden TIF district supported the project. ChicagoCAC’s Growing & Giving campaign aims to raise an additional $2.5 million in private funding through 2018. This campaign funding will cover furnishings for the new spaces and support programmatic growth.

The Public Building Commission served as the developer for this project, coordinated the design and procurement and managed construction of the addition on behalf of the City of Chicago.

“Our children are our most precious and important resource, and this new building will allow ChicagoCAC to expand its reach and provide critical services to more families in need,” said Felicia S. Davis, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission. “We are all deeply invested in making sure that our children have every opportunity to grow up in safe, healthy environments that will allow them to thrive and succeed and this expansion will make that possible.”

About the addition:
The new addition was designed by Holabird & Root, incorporating elements of the original design developed by Stanley Tigerman, while also offering a fresh interpretation of the facility’s purpose as a collaborative, child-centered environment. Further, the expansion is expected to attain LEED Gold certification, based on green design and construction features.

About Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center:
Founded by Mayor Daley in 1998, the center opened its current location in 2001. Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and its partners are the city’s front-line responders to reports of child sexual abuse, as well as reports of physical abuse of children under age 3. Learn more by visiting ChicagoCAC.org.

About the Public Building Commission:
The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages construction and renovation projects for the City of Chicago and its sister agencies. Mayor Rahm Emanuel serves as the PBC’s chairman. Felicia S. Davis serves as the Executive Director of the PBC. Additional information about the PBC and its projects can be found at www.pbcchicago.com. You can also follow the Public Building Commission of Chicago on Twitter and on Facebook.