Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, presented an allocation of $593,000 in state funding to the Child & Family Center for infrastructure and safety enhancements on Friday afternoon.
Child & Family Center leadership and board members were present during the check presentation that Schiavo made to the center and personally handed to Nikki Buckstead, CEO of the organization.
Buckstead was thankful for the funding, which will allow the center to update its infrastructure.
“What we don’t often have funding for is the infrastructure, is the maintenance, is the land that it sits on,” said Buckstead. “This is well overdue. This is really going to go a long way for us.”
Key projects that the $593,000 will fund include a new cloud-based phone system that will continue to work when power goes out. In case of emergencies, clients of the center may need to contact staff and the new system will allow them to carry out their services to the clients, said Buckstead.
A minivan will also be purchased with the funds for the center’s domestic violence program.
When clients need assistance to get out of dangerous, violent situations, the center will be able to pick up the domestic violence survivors and load the van with their personal belongings.
Buckstead recalled that, in the past, when families that were victim to domestic violence have been rescued from dangerous situations, their staff members have used their personal vehicles.
“Can you imagine being in that traumatic experience, some of your kids have to be in another car with this person that you don’t really know?” asked Buckstead. “This is going to allow them to be in one place and feel safe.”
The funds will also be enhancing security measures throughout the 32,000-square-foot building.
Schiavo, who has long been a fan of the center’s work and the critical and important services it provides, got emotional during her speech toward Buckstead and the board members.
“I’ve heard the stories of some of the survivors and I just think it’s incredible how you can really create a new life for folks, and we love that. And so, I am just grateful that we can be a part of it and we can really support,” said Schiavo.
Child & Family supporter Gloria Mercado-Fortine said that she witnessed when the building was first built and it really needed an upgrade.
“It’s been a wonderful facility, but it is old now. It’s not just about making it pretty, but it’s really making it functional for our clients,” she said.