Protecting Children - helping abused kids

Over two decades ago, a need to protect children from abuse was identified in Cedar Rapids. St. Luke's Hospital answered that call and worked with several community partners to create the Child Protection Center (CPC) to help children. At the time, St. Luke's CPC was the first of its kind in the state and one of a handful across the country.

Unfortunately, business has been steady since the CPC opened in 1987. Nearly 2,000 children were helped by the CPC in 2006. The Child Protection Center works with law enforcement agencies and the Department of Human Services (DHS) in 50 Iowa counties by responding to allegations of exposure of children to illegal drugs, sexual and physical abuse and reports that children have witnessed violence.

Last year, St. Luke's Health Care Foundation launched a $4.2 million fundraising effort to relocate the Child Protection Center. Later this year, the new CPC will open on St. Luke's new Children's Campus, which is located along North Center Point Road in Hiawatha. Two lead gifts jump-started the fundraising. An anonymous donor pledged $1.6 million, and The Hall-Perrine Foundation of Cedar Rapids contributed a $750,000 matching grant. To date the fund-raising effort has raised over $3.7 million.

Generous donors

"The fundraising process has been so affirming for 'our kids,'" said Susan Tesdahl, St. Luke's CPC director. "Everyone we have talked to, from individuals to corporations, has been so generous. A new CPC is needed because the current facility is virtually crumbling and is scheduled for destruction in a few years.?If our own children were exposed to abuse, we would want more for them than to come to an old building, with temperature and accessibility challenges. We have talented, dedicated professionals at the CPC and often the building itself can be a barrier to them providing high quality clinical care." "I am so very grateful," said Kathleen Opdebeeck, MD, Child Protection Center medical director. "The community's support really shows that they care about children. The new building will be such an improvement over our current location. Right now, there is virtually no privacy for the children who come here."

"I am deeply touched?by the way people have stepped up to give to the new CPC," said Tesdahl. "In my mind the?new center is a gift to the children of?eastern Iowa from many people who want them to know that they matter. The entire staff at CPC feels privileged to do the work we do and we are very thankful to the hundreds of donors who have made this possible."

To learn more about making a donation to St. Luke's Child Protection Center contact St. Luke's Health Care Foundation at (319) 369-7716 read information online.