HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – There will soon be a new safe space for children who are victims of abuse or neglect.
“This is not something a community wants but it is something that is necessary,” said Bridget Foy, the Board President of Zoey’s Place, who has also worked in law enforcement for 30 years. “Some of the cases are heart wrenching and their gut wrenching.”
Cases involving abused or neglected children don’t get any easier, but Foy hopes this new resource will make a difference with how they’re handled.
“We’ve already experienced a case load that has doubled and tripled in the past four years,” said Foy.
It’s called Zoey’s Place. The child advocacy center will give investigators and children a more friendly and comforting space to talk, instead of speaking about case matters at a police department or hospital.
“You’re already telling the worst thing you could possibly tell in your whole life, but on top of that you’re in a cold sterile environment and that’s just not fitting for a kid,” said Foy.
For now, the home is empty, but it will soon be transformed into interview rooms, with recording devices. There will be a welcoming sitting area with toys, stuffed animals and movies, so right as families and children walk in the door, they can relax.
On the second floor of the home, law enforcement, victims’ advocates, the prosecutor’s office and the Department of Child Services will work together to observe.
“We’ll be able to feed in questions to the interviewer,” said Foy.
Zoey’s Place is named after 1-year-old Zoey Wagoner of Greenfield. Zoey died four years ago due to traumatic abuse. Court documents revealed the little girl died from blunt force trauma. The investigator in the case wrote in court documents that Zoey “had lived in hell for a year, due to all of the multiple injuries throughout the year.”
“It takes special people to work these cases,” Foy added.
Zoey’s Place will be a safe space for children to share their story and for law enforcement to find their abusers. The goal is to be up and running by the end of the year.
If you would like to learn more about Zoey’s Place, click here.
“At the end of the day, it’s making sure the right person is responsible and put behind bars,” said Foy.