Local Matters

Community Sponsors

Child Advocacy Center

August 16, 2019 - 8:00pm
Video Sponsor

The Child Advocacy Center has completed phase I of its $250,000 renovation project and on Thursday held an open house, which was attended by Rep. Chris Collins.

March 13, 2019 - 4:36pm


The Child Advocacy Center in Batavia has a new forensic camera that cost about $16,000 thanks to the generosity of the folks at Chapin Industries.

Every year, Chapin hosts a golf tournament and proceeds from the tournament go a local charity. Last summer's tournament was a fundraiser for the CAC.

Justice for Children/Child Advocacy Center is a government program but it is entirely funded by grants and donations. Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children, said the camera is more advanced than what the center could normally get through grant programs so the donation was most welcome.

The camera is able to take higher resolution photos to document evidence of physical and sexual abuse, which may not be apparent with a standard camera.

The center is also undergoing a major renovation. The renovations will cost about $250,000 and Sheriff William Sheron said there is a possible funding shortfall of $50,000. He's asking members of the community to step up and help fill that gap. To donate visit www.justiceforchildrenadvocacycenter.org.

Photo: Bill Kegler, Sheriff William Sheron, Theresa Asmus-Roth, Undersheriff Brad Mazur, Norm Hubbard, and Ian Weatherbee.

January 10, 2019 - 1:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Child Advocacy Center, Justice for Children, news, notify.

The Child Advocacy Center should be a place where children who have been physically and sexually abused feel safe and cared for when they visit.

That means the center needs to have a home-like feeling, not a clinical atmosphere, said Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children.

While that has always been the goal of the center, Asmus-Roth said she and the staff and the board of directors think it's time to renovate their office location at 301 E. Main St., Batavia, to help make the center more friendly and welcoming.

"We want this environment to feel like the kind of place that you would go to get away from all the worries of the world," Asmus-Roth said during an open house Wednesday unveiling plans to remodel the building.

The First Presbyterian Church of Batavia donates the two-story building to Justice for Children and the agency, supported by grants and donations, has a long-term lease.

When it became clear a few years ago that the center's old location on Bank Street was no longer adequate, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia took on the major financial goal over five years of raising funds to support the center's move to a new building. When the Presbyterian church made its building available, the center moved into the new location and decided to forego building a new structure. The Kiwanis Club raised $190,000, which will go a long way to covering the cost of the more than $250,000 in renovations to the current location.

Asmus-Roth said the Justice for Children Foundation is seeking additional donations from the community in order to complete the project.

The renovations will first create all new office space on the second floor. That will enable the first floor to be dedicated entirely to caring for children and their families in times of crisis.

"We want families coming in to feel like they're coming to visit a friend or relative instead of coming for a doctor's appointment," Asmus-Roth said.

To that end, the renovations will include installing a wraparound porch outside and a waiting room inside. There will be more private meetings rooms as well.

Since construction and visiting with children who have been abused aren't a good match, during the first-floor renovations, clients will be seen in the Albion and Warsaw offices or in space being made available in the church next door.

More than 20 years ago, if a child was abused, if they were believed, the investigation and prosecution involved multiple examinations and interviews and multiple locations. That, in itself, Asmus-Roth said, was traumatic, and by the nature of things, could lead to inconsistencies in stories that made prosecution harder.

Now, because of the center, all of the professionals involved in a case -- attorneys, investigators, caseworkers, victim's advocates, and doctors, are all in one place and can be seen in one visit.

The work of the center is important, Asmus-Roth said, because she remembers what she heard in a previous job from adults who had been abused as children. They were often ignored or told they were making it up.

Today, she said, child abuse is less frequent, but because of greater awareness more often reported.

"Being here enables all of us to make sure that no kid who walks through our doors is going to say 50 years from now, 'no one believed me. No one supported me. I felt like I was all alone,' " Asmus-Roth said.

"I go back to that sense of wanting this to be the shelter in the storm. It's important to me that the children in our community know that no matter what happens outside when they come here, they'll be believed and they'll be supported."

For more about the center or to make a donation, visit www.justiceforchildrenadvocacycenter.org.


Kathleen Kogut, architect and project manager, from LaBella Associates, and Theresa Asmus-Roth, program coordinator for Justice for Children.


The staff of the Child Advocacy Center: Theresa Asmus-Roth, Brenda McQuillan -- mental health therapist, Amanda Czworka -- mental health therapist, Breana Crane -- victim assistant, Dave Libick -- family advocate, and Jessica Mitchell -- forensic interviewer.

April 2, 2016 - 4:58pm
posted by James Burns in batavia peace garden, GLOW, Child Advocacy Center.


Photos by Jim Burns. Information provided by Paula Savage, Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. On Friday morning, a total of 241 pinwheels were staked in the dirt of Batavia Peace Garden on Main Street, each representing a child helped last year in the GLOW region (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties).

GLOW has an Advocacy Center focusing on providing assistance to child-victims of physical and sexual abuse by reducing trauma and enhancing prosecution. They are teaming up with the Friends of the Batavia Peace Garden simply because "Peace and Love is Child Abuse Prevention."

The Justice for Children Foundation, established in 2011, believes every child has the right to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment. The goal is to reduce the number of times a child-victim is interviewed and to take those interviews out of intimidating locations such as police stations, hospitals or the district attorney’s office. By reducing the number of interviews, the possibility of causing further trauma that many victims suffer in the system is also reduced.

This is how it works: members of the legal, medical, social services, mental health and victim advocacy professions are brought together in one child-friendly location. The use of the CAC with its multidisciplinary approach helps to enhance criminal prosecution and can strengthen Family Court dispositions that are in the best interest of the child. All services provided at the JFCAC are FREE

Colorful markers will be on display throughout April in the Batavia Peace Garden representing the numbers of victims identified in the GLOW region.

A coloring page has been created to promote this message and you are encouraged to get out your crayons and show your support. The pages can be obtained at the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, 210 E. Main St., Batavia, or by requesting via e-mail: [email protected].   


The last of 241 pinwheels going in the Batavia Peace Garden on Friday.

September 20, 2015 - 10:59am


The Kiwanis Club of Batavia hosted its fifth annual Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala last night at the Genesee Community College Forum, with David Bellavia (top photo) serving as emcee.

Information is not yet available on how much was raised and whether that amount helped the club achieve its five-year goal of raising $150,000 for the Child Advocacy Center/Justice for Children.







The organizing committee, Jocelyn Sikorski, Anne Bezon, Jeanne Walton, Susan Maha, Gary Maha and Shannon Ford. Not pictured, Lawrence Friedman.

September 4, 2015 - 11:48am


Batavia resident, decorated Iraq War veteran, author and former congressional candidate David Bellavia (center) will be the emcee for the annual Bidding on a Brighter Future Gala at Genesee Community College on Sept. 19.

The annual event is a fundraiser organized by the Kiwanis Club of Batavia to benefit the Child Advocacy Center and Justice for Children. In its fifth year, organizers expect to cap the initial goal of raising $150,000 for a new CAC center. The CAC is now in quarters on East Main Street and the money may be used for rehabilitation of that facility.

The event is in the Forum starting at 5:30 p.m. and includes live, silent and basket auctions, entertainment and food. Tickets are $50 per person or $400 for a table of 10. 

To make a donation, become a sponsor or purchase tickets, visit GLOWGala.org.

With Bellavia in the photo, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman and CAC supervisor Anne Bezon.

September 28, 2013 - 7:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, 5K, Child Advocacy Center.

The Child Advocacy Center sponsored a 5K run/walk in Downtown Batavia this morning. The event was held in conjunction with a dozen other 5Ks sponsored by CACs in cities around the state.

We've not received race results yet, but we do know that Todd Masters won and all of the top four finishers are all members of the Kiwanis Club's 5K team.

Todd Masters

September 22, 2013 - 8:39pm

The third annual "Bidding on a Brighter Future" gala and auction was hosted by the Kiwanis club of Batavia on Saturday night at Genesee Community College's forum. Big turn out, lots of auction items -- all signs of a hugely successful event.

Proceeds will go to the Child Advocacy Center/Justice for Children Foundation to provide the CAC with a permenant building for its operations.

No word yet on how much money was raised or the final total of attendees, but it was a full house.

May 4, 2013 - 4:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Child Advocacy Center.

Supporters of the Child Advocacy Center gathered at Terry Hills on Friday for the agency's annual fundraiser, the Ugly Tie and Ugly Purse Luncheon.

The ugly tie winner was Brian Paris, top photo on the right with Bob Knipe.

The winner of the ugly purse contest was June Ferry, below. Ann Marie Gsell, bottom photo, also was a finalist in the ugly tie contest.

The keynote speaker was Mary Travers Murphy, executive director of the Family Justice Center in Erie County. She spoke about the center's effort to assist victims of domestic abuse, which she said is an equal problem for all segments of society, regardless of race or religion or level of wealth or degree of poverty. The statistics remain equal in all categories.

February 19, 2013 - 8:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, first presbyterian church, Child Advocacy Center.

The Child Advocacy Center should have a new home by this summer.

The First Presbyterian Church has offered the center a rent-free space for the next three to five years at a house it owns on East Main Street, according to Undersheriff William Sheron.

The CAC provides children who have been sexually abused a safe place for assistance, counseling and interaction with law enforcement officials.

It operates under the auspice of Genesee Justice and the Sheriff's Office the county has been paying $1,200 a month in rent for its location on Bank Street.

The discussion about the move come up today during the county legislature's Public Service Committee meeting.

When Genesee Justice was threatened with funding cuts two years ago, it became apparent that the CAC needed to find a way to cut the rent expense.

In response, the Kiwanis Club of Batavia took up the cause of raising $150,000 to help the center get a location that it owned. So far more than $70,000 has been raised. The move to the house owned by the Presbyterian church would give supporters of the CAC more time to close the funding gap.

The Justice for Children Child Advocacy Center operates as a nonprofit organization and is supported by the county, donations and grants.

An in-kind contribution from the local Presbyterian Church would help the center fulfill matching grant requirements.

The house is located on East Main Street, between the Presbyterian church and the First Baptist Church.

The new location would give the CAC more space and be able to offer clients with different needs -- those there for counseling, say, and those for forensic interviews -- separate waiting spaces.

There is remodeling and repair work that needs to take place in the new facility and Sheron told the committee that there will likely be volunteers who do the work.

The only vote the committee took today was to approve a six-month lease on the Bank Street location, giving the CAC until June to prepare the new space.

December 26, 2012 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Announcements, Child Advocacy Center.

Members of Brownie Troop 42001 dropped by the Child Advocacy Center on Christmas Eve with a cookie donation. Pictured are Claire Taylor. Arianna Armstrong, Grace Flannary and Portia Rannalli.

November 13, 2012 - 5:54pm

There are children in our community who need winter jackets and the Justice for Children Advocacy Center, along with the Sheriff's Office and Olympia Sports are teaming up to request donations from people in the community for new or slightly used coats and jackets.

The group is seeking donations from Nov. 14 through 30 for coats and jackets for children of all sizes.

Donations can be dropped off during normal business hours at the Sheriff's Office, 165 Park Road, Batavia. Donors will receive a 10-percent-off coupon from Olympia Sports.

Photo: Stacey Bauer, left, district sales manager for Olympia Sports, Undersheriff Bill Sheron, Grace Flannery, CAC, Shannon Ford, Genesee Justice and Anne Bezon, CAC.

August 27, 2012 - 11:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Child Advocacy Center.

Press release:

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office has recently hired Anne M. Bezon to fill the position of Justice for Children Advocacy Center (JFCAC) supervisor; a position that was created after a vacancy that was left by the resignation of a Sr. Community Victim Services counselor at the center.

Bezon brings many years of social work experience to the Justice for Children Advocacy Center. In addition to previously being employed with Catholic Charities as a co-facilitator for both the Domestic Violence for Men Program and Our Kids Parent Education Program, she held the title of social worker III. She was also the assistant director of the Geneseo Summer Recreation Program for the YMCA.

The 2004 high school alumna from Oakfield-Alabama Central School graduated magna cum laude from Gannon University with a bachelor of arts degree in Legal Studies, with minors in Social Work and Pre-law. In addition, she earned a master's degree in Social Work from University of New York College at Buffalo in 2010 and is currently enrolled in the 2012 class of Leadership Genesee.

Sheriff Gary Maha said “Ms. Bezon is a perfect fit for the Justice for Children Advocacy Center Supervisor position. This position requires patience, compassion, sensitivity and social work experience, all of which Anne possesses. She started in this position July 30 and has been doing an excellent job.”

May 31, 2012 - 10:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, YWCA, Child Advocacy Center.

Samantha Luce is in front of the county courthouse today selling cookies on behalf of the YWCA as a fundraiser for the Child Advocacy Center. The cookies are the creation of Anita Stollo and her daughter Serena.

April 20, 2012 - 8:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Child Advocacy Center.

It was the Ugly Purse and Tie Luncheon today to raise money for the Child Advocacy Center. The second annual event is a chance for local residents to show off their most gaudy ties and purses.

The luncheon was held at Terry Hills.

Top photo, Susan Privitera, of Le Roy, with a fur-and-bug-covered handbag of her own making.

Sheriff Gary Maha.

Mike Flannery, left, Edgar Lougheed, both from Byron, and Det. Pat Corona.

September 18, 2011 - 1:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Child Advocacy Center, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

More than 200 people attended the Batavia Kiwanis Club's auction and gala to raise funds for the Child Advocacy Center at Batavia Downs.

There were certainly a lot of laughs and some great deals were struck at the auction, which brought in more than $15,000.

The few somber minutes of the evening where just before the live auction when a video about the Child Advocacy Center turned the talkative room quiet. Watch the video below. It will give you a good idea of what the CAC is all about.

If you're unable to view the slide show below, click here.

September 16, 2011 - 1:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Child Advocacy Center, Batavia Kiwanis Club.

Kiwanis members in Batavia have compiled more than 200 items that will be auctioned off Saturday at Batavia Downs to help raise funds for the Child Advocacy Center.

The center provides assistance to children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse and helps with the investigation and prosecution of such crimes.

Kiwanis has set an ambition goal of raising $150,000 to help the CAC move into a non-rental location as a cost-saving measure in an era of tighter budgets and reductions in state and federal grants.

(See previous story).

Tickets for the event Saturday are $40 per person or $75 per couple. The event starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are available at the door.

After a jump, a list of the items available at the auction.

September 3, 2011 - 6:57pm

There was a time when a child who was victimized would have to go through a gauntlet of police and medical exams while a case was built against the perpetrator.

And at the end of the process, the child and his or her family was left alone to figure out how to deal with trauma and its aftermath.

Then a group of leaders in the local criminal justice system got together and created Justice for Children and the Child Advocacy Center.

Today, when a child is sexually or physically abused, the child is no longer brought to an intimidating police station for an interview, then driven up to Strong Memorial Hospital for a physical and forensic exam, and then perhaps put through interviews with another investigator or two.

Rather, at the CAC on Bank Street, the child is welcomed into a kid-friendly environment where the investigators, medical examiners and other specialists are brought in to simplify the process for the child.

The CAC also provides ongoing counciling, support and even clothing and school supplies to families that need the assistance.

"I can't imagine going back to the way that it was before," District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said. "It's just a great place."

Friedman is also president this year of the Batavia Kiwanis Club. As a national organization, Kiwanis has a mission of engaging in charitable and civic work on behalf of children. The Batavia Kiwanis adopted the CAC as its long-term project.

The first order of business is to raise $150,000 to buy a new building to house the CAC. The club's goal is to raise $100,000 itself and is asking other Kiwanis clubs to contribute a combined $50,000.

"It's hard for me to imagine a more worthwhile long-term project for our club," Friedman said. 

Currently, the CAC pays $1,300 a month in rent -- down from $1,500 when the landlord provided lawn care that is now performed by volunteers -- mostly Kiwanis members. 

Friedman said that $1,300 a month that could be used to benefit children directly, and it's also a big expense in an age when state and federal grants are being reduced.

According to Genesee Justice Director Tiffany Szymanek, the CAC receives money from three primary grants -- National Children's Alliance, NYS Office of Child and Family Services and NYS Office of Victims' Services.

A new formula for state grants has more funds going to CACs in larger cities and cuts to smaller cities, Szymanek said.

Cuts have forced CAC to reduce staffing from two full-time employees to one and a half, with the hours of Grace Flannery, a child advocate (pictured) having her hours cut in half.

Flannery's job is to help guide a child and family through the process, from the day the child first walks into the toy filled waiting room through the criminal investigation, the court proceedings and any counseling.

The waiting room, Flannery said, "at least makes them feel a little more comfortable."

It's a symbol of what the CAC tries to accomplish -- avoid victimizing children again by putting through the trauma of reliving their experiences in sterile, adult environments.

"If they are escorted from service to service, they are just re-victimized and re-victimized," Szymanek said.

In a tour, Flannery showed off the CAC's child-friendly exam rooms, the clothes closet, the school supplies stacked in the employee break room and a boardroom filling up quickly with donations for an upcoming fundraiser. She said many times she thinks the community needs to know about the work the CAC does to help victimized children.

"The CAC is a marvelous resource that the community should know about," Flannery said. "Anything you can do to help get the word out, we really appreciate."

The Kiwanis Club is sponsoring a "Bidding on a Brighter Future" Gala and Auction at 6 p.m., Sept. 17 at Batavia Downs. Donations of items for the auction are still being accepted. Tickets for the gala are $40 per person or $75 per couple. Checks can be mailed to: Justice for Children GLOW Foundation, Inc., 108 Bank St., Batavia, NY 14020.

Disclosure: As of Thursday, Howard Owens is a member of the Batavia Kiwanis Club.

August 25, 2011 - 9:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Kiwanis, Child Advocacy Center.

Lawrence Friedman, president of the Batavia Kiwanis Club, accepts a $350 donation from Bleyke Culver for the Child Advocacy Center.

With some grant funding being cut, local Kiwanians have stepped in to try and fill any potential budget gap. Batavia Kiwanis set a goal of raising $100,000 for the center, which provides assistance to abused children. Other area Kiwanis clubs are being asked to raise another $50,000.

Bleyke, a 16-year-old Batavia resident, was representing the Genesee County foster care program. The county's foster care program provides a number of field trips for foster children throughout the summer.

Typically, the foster children raise funds for their own field trips, but this year, the program received an unexpected donation from a former county employee. The foster children decided to donate some of the extra money in the program to the CAC.

Subscribe to




Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button