BEND, Ore. -

KIDS Center, Central Oregon’s only child abuse intervention center, is celebrating its 20th anniversary of providing vital services to children who have experienced all forms of abuse.

KIDS Center services include medical evaluations, forensic interviews, family support and therapy for children who have or may be experiencing sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and/or witness to domestic violence in the tri-county area.  KIDS Center also provides region-wide prevention and education programs to help adults learn how to keep kids safe from abuse.

In 2014, KIDS Center is excited to offer the newly revised Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children, an evidence based child sexual abuse prevention training. New changes to the training include: a decreased duration of the training from 3 hours to 2 hours, the 7 steps to keep kids safe have been condensed to 5 easy to remember steps, and new compelling survivor stories to learn from. It is recommended that this training be taken every 3 years.

KIDS Center has been providing the Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children training for over 9 years in Central Oregon and has trained over 7,000 adults. KIDS Center provides trainings in various locations throughout Central Oregon. To sign up for an upcoming training, visit www.kidscenter.org. For more information contact Kim Bohme at 541-306-6062 or kbohme@kidscenter.org. Scholarships are available.

Also new in 2014, KIDS Center is piloting 2 new services to children and parents dealing with child abuse in their homes. The first service headed by the District Attorney’s office, in partnership with KIDS Center, the Bend Police Department, DHS Child Welfare and Saving Grace will identify and provide a child-friendly forensic interview within 24 hours for children who have witnessed domestic violence in their home.

The second service extends trauma-based therapy services to non-offending parents/caregivers to reduce their own secondary trauma from their child’s abuse and help them be better equipped to support their child’s healing and long-term success.

KIDS Center was founded in 1990 when a core group of individuals including the District Attorney’s Office, members of the Bend Rotary Club and other concerned citizens came together to develop early concepts and planning to bring a child advocacy center to Central Oregon. The 1,500 sq. foot building was built with $50,000 cash and far more in volunteer labor and supplies from community professionals.

The doors opened in 1994, providing medical evaluations, child-friendly forensic interviews and therapy to 159 children. Since then, KIDS Center has served more than 10,000 children from Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties and Warm Springs.

KIDS Center plans to have a 20th Anniversary Open House in the fall of 2014.  Details to follow closer to the event. Everyone is welcome to join the celebration.