Susie’s Place Turns Five

Steven Penn:

AVON — Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center has done a lot for families throughout the state since opening in 2009, but there is no sign of the organization slowing down anytime soon.

Susie’s Place offers forensic interviews in a “kid-friendly” environment for children suspected of being abused or those who may have witnessed a violent crime. The interviewer speaks to the child while the multidisciplinary team observes from another room, minimizing the trauma to each child.

Looking back since the opening of Susie’s Place, executive director Emily Perry said it’s been worth all the work and effort. The first center opened in Avon.

“We have grown so much,” she said. “Our very first year in 2009 when we opened, we worked 192 cases and last year we worked 847 — the growth has been substantial and unexpected.”

But, on the verge of its five-year anniversary next month, the organization refuses to rest on its laurels. In 2011, the organization opened a second center in Bloomington.

Perry said the organization has been offering training for first responders in that area.

“We’ve been working on developing the training for first responders for about eight months now and we actually put on a series of training down in Bloomington throughout the month of February and then we’ll continue to do that down in that region for our child advocacy center,” she said.

Thanks to a $5,000 grant from Indiana University Health West Hospital

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