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Superior Child Advocacy Center opens for business

Working with Suunta Integrative Health

SCAC President Dianne Heitman holds a paper airplane she made during the open house. The center’s paper airplane symbol is representative of childhood and those the center will benefit. (Journal photos by Trinity Carey)

MARQUETTE — An open house was held for the Superior Child Advocacy Center Thursday. The center, which is housed in and works in partnership with Suunta Integrative Health, located at 1209 N. Third St. in Marquette, streamlines the forensic interview process for victims of trauma.

“Suunta has a lot of different services that help people recover from trauma,” said Melissa Copenhaver, co-owner of Suunta. “We have therapists that have been trained in trauma therapies, people who do body work, a person who does auricular acupuncture, someone who does myofascial release, so we tried to create a place where people can do the work to move beyond what things have happened to them.”

The advocacy center provides a space for local law enforcement, the Marquette County Prosecutor’s Office and the other agencies involved in the forensic interview process such as social workers and medical professionals to conduct one interview which will be recorded via a closed caption system, overall reducing the trauma of victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse and domestic violence.

“Our goal is to reduce the amount of interviews that have to occur,” said Jamie Lemay, director of the Department of Health and Human Services for Alger, Marquette and Schoolcraft counties. “Historically, without a CAC law enforcement would receive a referral, they would go out and make their interviews and contact with the family. Afterwards, we receive the referral and would equally have to go out and do the same. With the collaboration in this process and something I’m very excited for is it’s going to reduce that, it’s going to be one interview.”

The center will provide services for children and their families while helping to bring justice to perpetrators, SCAC Interim Director Hannah Syrjala said in a previous interview with The Mining Journal.

“We want these kids to — despite the abuse that’s happened to them, despite the trauma they’ve gone through — to have normal, safe, healthy homes and lives, and it is possible,” she said.

Homemade cupcakes and paper airplane cookies were offered to those who attended the event as well as sandwiches donated by Jimmy Johns. Through a grant, Lowe’s also provided paint and other hardware for the center.

For more information visit www.superiorcac.org.

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal.net.