As the population in South Sarasota County continues to grow at a rapid pace, the area has seen a simultaneous increase in the need for child abuse services. To meet this growing need, the Child Protection Center (CPC) has recently closed on a new property and building in North Port.
From the year 2000 through 2020, the population of North Port grew by 213%- almost ten times more than Sarasota and Venice in the same time frame. The area is also a popular space for families, with school aged children and adolescents making up 22% of the population and a median age of 46. As the demand for CPC’s services has been steadily increasing alongside the population growth, the pandemic greatly exacerbated the problem- in the early months of the pandemic, the center’s Child Protection Team reported an over 23% increase in child sexual abuse. More recently, a waiting list of verified victims of child abuse in need of therapy grew to over 70 children. “The need is clear,” said Doug Staley, the Executive Director of the nonprofit. “There are children requiring immediate access to our services, and it’s our responsibility to protect them. No child should ever have to wait for treatment.”
Local philanthropist Graci McGillicuddy, one of CPC’s most dedicated supporters over her 35 year history of involvement, joined in full support upon hearing the announcement. “Our dream is to one day transform this building into a children’s museum because child abuse will no longer exist,” she said. She went on to credit CPC’s staff on their expertise in the field and their dedication to the mission.
Renovations on the building will begin as quickly as possible with a goal of opening for services by summer.
The Child Protection Center’s mission is the Prevention, Intervention, & Treatment of Child Abuse, as the organization envisions a community where children are safe from abuse and free to thrive. For over 40 years, CPC has been serving Sarasota and DeSoto Counties in the State of Florida, and is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance. For more information on CPC, visit www.cpcsarasota.org or call 941-365-1277.