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Group Thanks Jerry Sandusky for Sparking Awareness

It's a topic of conversation that's continuing across the state and one many say is thanks to Jerry Sandusky.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - It's a topic of conversation that's continuing across the state and one many say is thanks to Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State is hosting their second annual Child Protection and Well-Being Conference Wednesday.

Administrators, district attorneys and law enforcement from across the state are talking about how to make kids safer.

Since the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal broke two years ago, experts have been spreading awareness on the issue, but they say one things is missing and it's something that needs to be changed now.

Officials in Centre County are working to make it happen.

"It's coming along great," Centre County District Attorney, Stacy Parks Miller, said. "The construction is almost finished and we're really hoping to open before the end of the year, so we're excited about it."

It's a project Parks Miller calls necessary.

"We hope to be a regional center," she said. "There are no child advocacy centers in surrounding counties. We're really hoping to service the center of the state."

A place for kids to go to talk about their abuse, and feel safe doing it.

"You really need to think about it as a one-stop-shop," Deputy Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare, Cathy Utz, said.

So far, there are only 22 child advocacy centers in the state.

"It's a safe place for a child to feel comfortable in sharing their story," Utz said. "It's an interview that can be preserved for everybody as they move forward in the investigation."

Abby Newman says having multiple centers across the state, like the one in Bellefonte, is essential. She even thanks Jerry Sandusky for bringing the problem to light.

"I hate to put it this way, but to the CAC movement, Jerry Sandusky is our friend," Newman said. "He brought such great awareness to the movement, to the work that's being done, to the help it brings to children, prosecutors, children and youth services, children's advocates. With Pennsylvania, it's been a rallying cry and I think it's wonderful."

Parks Miller says there is not an exact date for the Centre County Child Advocacy Center to open, but expects it will be before the end of the year.
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