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Accreditation problem could cause Unzner Child Advocacy Centre in Shawnee to close.

Officials are appealing an accreditation issue with the Unzner Centre in Shawnee and looking for alternative funding sources to keep its doors open. The center lost its $90,000 backing from the state Department of Humans Services.
BY ANN KELLEY Published: November 11, 2010

A center that provides services for abused children may close because of an accreditation issue that has caused it to lose state funding.

The Unzner Child Advocacy Centre in Shawnee has lost its 2011 accreditation through the National Children's Alliance. The accreditation is required by the state Department of Human Services for the center to receive its annual $90,000 for operations at the center.

The center is overseen by the Youth and Family Resource Center, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping families and children with problems.

"We're not sure how we're going to handle it yet, but without money, we can't keep the doors open," said Susan Morris, director of the Youth and Family Resource Center.

Pottawatomie County District Attorney Richard Smothermon said they're looking for a solution. "The value of the Unzner Centre is too important to children and this community to lose," he said. "We're going to do whatever it takes to keep it open."

The center

The Unzner Centre is a kid-friendly house used by professionals to interview and examine children who may have been sexually or physically abused. Along with forensic interviews, medical examinations and counseling for children, it also is used by medical professionals to examine adult rape victims.

About nine children a week are seen at the center. It is open normal business hours, Monday through Friday. Some professionals have keys to the house for use after hours for emergencies. It's generally staffed with a director and counselor.

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