Voices for Children Advocacy Center is the result of a merger between Weiss Child Advocacy Center and Priority Children. The history of both organizations is below. Currently, Voices for Children is a child –friendly, place where child victims of abuse receive a forensic-child-focused interview, undergo medical evaluations, receive therapy services and receive support, advocacy and resources. Parents and children are able to receive the services they need and ask any questions they need. Prior to having the child advocacy center, children of abuse and their families had to manipulate the different systems alone and had to retell the traumatic events of the abuse multiple times. Parents and child no longer walk through this process alone.
The center also services as an advocate and voice for children in Genesee County to ensure children have their basic needs.
Weiss Child Advocacy Center
Genesee County recognized the need to have a Child Advocacy Center for children who were alleged victims of child abuse or neglect. In 2003, with funding from the Ruth Mott Foundation the Child Advocacy Center of Genesee County was formed.
In 2010, the Robert E. Weiss Advocacy Center for Youth and Children (commonly known as Weiss Child Advocacy Center) was born through the merger of two well-established and highly respected child welfare agencies in Genesee County: the Consortium on Child Abuse and Neglect (C/CAN), and the Child Advocacy Center (CAC). C/CAN was established in 1974 to advocate against child abuse and neglect. C/CAN has established a variety of education and prevention programs for Genesee County to help change the child welfare system and prevent abuse. This merger brought direct services and preventions for child abuse and neglect under one roof.
Weiss Child Advocacy Center is accredited by the National Children Alliance (NCA) and is the home to the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of Genesee County program.
Voices for Children serves as the “hub” to the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), a skilled team of professionals comprised of members of many organizations including law enforcement, social services, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy personnel. The MDT work together in the investigation, treatment, management, and prosecution of child abuse cases. Having a facility like Weiss Child Advocacy Center allows the child to begin his or her immediately after the forensic interview, it allows the child to only have to recount the event once, and it allows for an effective prosecution of the offender.
Priority Children, formerly Priority ’90s, is a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation representing volunteers from business, civic affairs, charitable organizations, education, the faith community, government and health and human services.
Priority Children was born in the late 1980s out of the leadership of Mott Children’s Health Center as a broad-based community coalition comprised of leaders from business, education, health care, human services and charitable organizations with a charge of mobilizing the broader community to improve the situation for children.
Priority Children, then Priority ’90s, merged with the Flint Roundtable, a community-wide coalition of 60 CEOs from business, labor, education, higher education, government, human services and organizations with a focus on improving educational outcomes.The Roundtable’s “ready-to-learn” agenda provided an appropriate opportunity to bring greater strength and legitimacy to Priority ’90s efforts as a change agent for children and families. The combined boards of the Roundtable and Priority ’90s formally approved the merger on June 27, 1996 and the organization was re-christened Priority ’90s: A Community Roundtable for Genesee County’s Children & Families.
To date, Priority Children continues its track record as a good steward of community resources. Its support comes from generous contributions of individual and organizational memberships and major public and private sponsors.
Priority Children’s value within the community is measured by its various publications, community forums and conferences that highlight important information, data and issues affecting children and families along with its ability to build partnerships, leverage resources and provide a public voice for children from a position of authority and neutrality.