The Elizabeth Pettigrew Durant Children’s Center hosted a dedication ceremony on Sunday to celebrate the community support that has made possible the Center at 411 N. Salem Ave., which serves residents in the state’s third judicial circuit.
The project to establish services in the 4,700 sq. ft. facility, began in December of 2019 with the site acquisition. Last year, it became a National Children’s Alliance first-year grantee for the Military Partnership Program, positioning it to enhance services to families stationed in the Shaw Air Force Base. In March, the Center earned accreditation as a Satellite Children’s Advocacy by the National Children’s Alliance.
“I am so thankful to the Durant Center for providing services to our children and families on base for the Family Advocacy Program. The Durant Center has been instrumental in offering community-based services that help keep our members’ mission ready.” Krista Duckett, 20th Medical Group FAP Treatment Manager
The Durant Center employs six staff members who provide child advocacy services such as medical exams, forensic interviews, therapy, education and outreach to residents in the counties of Lee, Sumter, Clarendon and Williamsburg. The center also provides space for Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, a hospital advocacy and therapeutic partner. The pairing provides a central location for those seeking assistance from child abuse and sexual assault.
“The Third Circuit Solicitor’s Office is thrilled to have a nationally accredited child advocacy center in Sumter. In just one year, the Durant Children’s Center in Sumter has already touched the lives of many victims and has allowed law enforcement and our office to more effectively investigate and prosecute child sexual assault and child abuse cases. I was especially appreciative of the Durant Children’s Center’s expertise when I had a non-verbal, special needs child victim. Their team took on the challenge and conducted a forensic interview that will be used in the court case. Sumter is lucky to have this addition to our community and our Multi-Disciplinary Team!” Bronwyn McElveen, Third Judicial Circuit Deputy Solicitor
In 2020, the center provided services to 380 children, including 206 forensic interviews and 76 medical exams. Five percent of all Sumter-site clients were military affiliated. The implementation of the CAC provides the community a multidisciplinary, comprehensive approach for treating victims of child abuse, including specially trained physicians and pediatricians. It is the belief of the Durant Center, and the National Children’s Alliance, that providing a central location for examinations and recovery services is the best way to minimize trauma that a child may experience when undergoing treatment related to child abuse.
The Durant Children’s Center is enormously grateful for the generous local and regional support that has made the establishment of the Third Circuit Satellite possible. Among the Durant’s strongest early supporters, they are profoundly appreciative of the support provided by: Alice Drive Baptist Church, Gifford and Marian Shaw, the Silent Tears Foundation, South Carolina House Representative Murrell Smith, Sumter County, The Tuomey Foundation and Prisma Health Toumey Hospital, and the WilliamsBrice Edwards Charitable Trust.