Toomey supports Mission Kids getting grant

A couple of pols are pals when it comes to doing good things for children in Montgomery County — U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

On Friday, Ferman gave Toomey a tour of a nonprofit agency called Mission Kids that she cofounded. The agency is what's known as a a child advocacy center. According to the nonprofit's webiste,  "Mission Kids offers a comprehensive, centrally located, multidisciplinary team response to allegations of child abuse in a dedicated, child-friendly setting ... Mission Kids provides neutral, fact-finding forensic interviews which are coordinated to avoid duplicative interviewing and supports Montgomery County’s multidisciplinary team approach to child abuse investigation and intervention."

Toomey liked the mission, liked Mission Kids.

"This organization helps children involved in abuse to navigate the criminal justice system in a safe, comforting environment," he wrote on his Facebook page. "This is surely difficult - but critical - work to assist and care for children in crisis."

Ferman said the tour took about 10 or 15 minutes. "We walked around. Talked aobut victim advocacy, the followup component, the interview component," she said. "Before I even had the opportunity to raise the issue to say 'We need to have these across Pennsylvania,' he said that to me."

The senator did more than that. Before the day was over, his office wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., expressing his support for a National Children's Alliance grant that Mission Kids applied for from the Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

The nonprofit is requesting $14,000 to develop a training curriculum for its staff who aren't therapists, yet who come into contact with children and their families, said executive director Abbie Newman.

"It makes for a better experience for the family members" and for children, she said.

Part of the grant application says Mission Kids will share what it creates with other established and developing child advoacy centers aorund the state. Centers who would be interested in the training include Centre County, Jeffersopn County and Philadelphia.