LDS Church donation to help heal victims of child abuse

WEST JORDAN, Utah — The scriptures reveal Jesus Christ’s limitless love for children. The Lord blessed them, healed them, protected them and even raised them from the dead — offering hope and new life.

That deep, divine tenderness for “these little ones” is what anchors the Church’s support of the South Valley Children’s Justice Center, a government program that provides counseling, medical attention, legal services and other vital resources to victims of child abuse and their families.

On Thursday, April 20, Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, presented the center with a donation of $120,000 on behalf of the Church. The money will help the center enhance its on-site medical services and resources at eight children’s justice centers across Utah.

“It is a gift to be able to partner with this organization,” Sister Jones told the Church News. “What they are doing is phenomenal. They are blessing the lives of children and their families.”

Caring for young victims of abuse is deeply personal for the Primary leader.

“I love these children and I pray for them every day,” she said. “The Savior was all about protecting children. It was his focus. And that is what this [donation] is about today.”

The Lord values children and sees them as priceless gifts, added Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Woman general president, who also participated in Thursday’s event.

“We also value our children and see them as such a gift in our lives,” she said. “They are precious and important to us and to our Heavenly Father.”

It’s tragic, she noted, that programs such as the Children’s Justice Center are necessary to provide care for victims of abuse. “But it’s so comforting to know that there are people in the community that care about children and their families and who offer them help and healing.”

Susanne Mitchell, the director of the Salt Lake County Children’s Justice Center, said she is honored by the Church’s gift and its commitment to children.

The Church’s donation, she added, “will improve how we provide services” and help ease the center’s “desperate need” for improved medical exams rooms and medical equipment.

The visiting Church auxiliary leaders — which also included Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, and Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency — were joined by local law enforcement officials and journalists on a walk-through of the West Jordan facility. The tour included visits to the center’s medical exam room and several rooms where victims are interviewed by investigators in a child-enabling, peaceful environment.

The facility also includes rooms where law enforcement officers and child therapists and counselors can view the live interviews.

During the tour, Ms. Mitchell said the Children’s Justice Center offers hope and healing to young victims of abuse and their families during a desperate and tragic moment in their lives.

There are more than 20 Children’s Justice Center locations in Utah that assist 5,500 child victims each year.

[email protected] @JNSwensen

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