OUR OPINION: Zoey’s Place finds a worthy home

Bridget Foy of the Hancock County Sheriff's Department and county Prosecutor Brent Eaton say the house on North Street will be a perfect place to open the county's new child advocacy center. (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

You couldn’t blame Bridget Foy for being a little giddy when she first stepped across the threshold at the new Zoey’s Place, the house in Greenfield that soon will be home to the Hancock County Child Advocacy Center.

After all, it wasn’t that long ago that such a moment seemed unlikely. Despite widespread endorsement of the idea of establishing a child advocacy center here, Zoey’s Place still faced a big hurdle: finding a location that would be a worthy sanctuary for children who have suffered abuse and neglect. As recently as six months ago, Foy, who investigates crimes against children for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, had no idea where to find one.

Fast forward to a bright day earlier this month, when Foy and Prosecutor Brent Eaton unlocked the front door at 953 W. North Street and walked inside as tenants of the new Zoey’s Place.

“This is totally the vision,” Foy told the Daily Reporter’s Kristy Deer, no doubt thinking back on over four years of effort — including countless fund-raisers and public presentations — that crystallized in her mind what this moment would be like.

Foy has interviewed thousands of victims of abuse and neglect, many of them in the uncomfortable environment of an interview room at the Hancock County Jail. She knows the importance of sensitively gathering evidence prosecutors need to make their cases. Zoey’s Place will be that sanctuary, a place where families can come not only to help law enforcement, but perhaps to make progress in their own path toward healing.

Much work remains. The Zoey’s Place board wants to hire an executive director, and a certain amount of remodeling will be required to turn the house into a place where important work will be done. There will be many more fund-raisers and many more grant applications.

But from now on, Zoey’s Place has an address, and that puts the child advocacy center a big step closer to reality.

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