The Children’s Advocacy Center of Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, or CAC-LMJC, could lose 10 percent of its budget next year because of federal budget cuts. The deficit could result in job loss and a significant reduction of CAC-LMJC’s mental health program.
"The initiative provides a safe place for child abuse or neglect victims to process their emotions through play therapy and mental health therapy," officials said.
To save the program, the nonprofit will host a golf tournament at Lafayette Golf Course located at 1 Fred Henry Dr. in Lafayette on Sept. 16 from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Individual hole sponsorships can be purchased for $100 and team sponsorships range anywhere from $300 to $5,000.
The CAC-LMJC depends on The Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA, to fund their mental health program. The fund was created in 1984 to provide federal support to state and local programs that assist victims of crime. The CAC-LMJC’s Executive Director Anthony Dye says the mental health program takes up more than half of their budget and employs six people. “Mental health therapy changes the path of a child victim’s life. Putting a perpetrator behind bars is only going to fix part of the problem for a child. Instead, we spend six months to a year after an investigation beginning the healing process for children and their caregivers. Our staff is trained in trauma-focused and evidence-supported mental health treatment,” said Mr. Dye.
"Child abuse and neglect can have adverse effects on mental health that continue through adulthood," officials said.
Greg Ramey serves as the chairman of the board of directors for CAC-LMJC and is a former Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent of 34 years. He says his experience in law enforcement taught him that the mental health program is vital to the community. “I was a child abuse specialist with the GBI for five years and I helped implement the child death and serious child injury team through the Children’s Advocacy Center in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit in 1999. The cases I’ve witnessed are those out of horror movies. Through those years, I saw how the abuse impacted both adult's and children’s lives. Kids deserve to be kids, to have fun, to be cared about and to be loved,” said Mr. Ramey.