The Forensic Health Services center in Escondido will meet with community leaders on Thursday to find ways to keep its doors open after 30 years in the community.
The center has to find its own sponsors now after they lost funding from Palomar Health due to budget cuts from the hospital.
Law enforcement gives some funding to the center while Palomar Health was covering about $200,000 a year to keep it running.
The Forensic Health Services is the only center of its kind in the North County and works as a joint Child Abuse Program and Sexual Assault Response Team.
The team of ten is on call 24-7 and works with about 500 victims a year, many children of sexual abuse crimes.
The center is the first step in the investigation of child abuse and sexual assault and leaders conducts interviews with the victims as evidence for law enforcement.
“It’s not therapy but I think it can be therapeutic for children who come here to be able to tell everything and often it’s a difficult thing because they haven’t told anybody or have just recently told,” said staff member Christina Shultz.
If the center would close, the only centers available in San Diego for women would be in El Cajon and children would be sent to Rady Children’s hospital.
“There is not only consideration for the children and the families who will have to travel a long way for services but there is also the cost of law enforcement which is significant to them,” said Cathy McLennan from Forensic Health Services.
Two county Supervisors, the District Attorney’s office and sheriff’s officials will meet today to talk about a possible community partnership.
The center did find enough funding to stay open for the rest of this year.
To help Forensic Health Services, you can donate at this website.