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
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Its overall annual budget is about $105,000, with $90,000 from the state Department of Human Services and the remainder from grants and donations.

The center was opened in 1995 and has been accredited by the National Children's Alliance for nine years.

The accreditation membership requires a center to meet 10 standards, which include requirements for case tracking, forensic interviewing and having a child-focused setting.

The Oklahoman's calls to the National Children's Alliance were not returned.

Review problems

Morris said reviewers from the alliance visited the center in August, and notified her in October they weren't going to renew the Unzner Centre's accreditation.

Morris said she didn't know the outcome of the review until October, because the reviewers didn't have a traditional exit meeting with her or her staff about their findings. Some of the findings in their report simply aren't true, she said.

An appeal on behalf of the Unzner Centre was sent Monday to the National Children's Alliance. Regardless of the results, it will not help them regain their funding from DHS.

Morris said the state's 2011 money was allocated in October, and no more exists for the Unzner Centre.

Smothermon said they are looking at other funding alternatives to keep its doors open, including grants and possible fellowship opportunities.

Morris said if no funding is obtained, it may be possible close the center during the day and open it on an as-needed basis.

"At least we could do that until we run out of money to pay the electricity bill," she said.