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Jeffersonville child welfare agency office is 'total loss' after fire

A spokesperson for the Family & Children's Place said the office was used to provide professional services for children and families impacted by abuse.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When Pam Durnall, CEO of Family and Children’s Place first got the call about the fire, she said she was shocked and devastated.

On Sunday afternoon, a call came in for a fire at 100 West Court Avenue. Firefighters ended up fighting the fire for hours, and the damage was extensive. That address was home to the agency's Jeffersonville office.

“It is a total loss,” said Durnall.

This year has been especially challenging for Family and Children’s Place. Donations have dropped, and the way that staff has been able to interact with the children they serve has changed.

“Overall our revenue has been down about 25% in some areas, in the past nine months. So, this is just another added challenge for us to have to deal with it,” said Durnall.

The agency’s Jeffersonville office served as one of its child advocacy centers, providing child victims of sexual and physical abuse with a safe place to tell their story to law enforcement officials and child protective services. The office also provided professional counseling services to hundreds of children and families impacted by abuse, neglect, and other forms of trauma.

Credit: Josh Whitney/WHAS-TV
Smoke could be seen from the West Court Avenue fire in Jeffersonville from the River Park Place Marina in Louisville; Dec. 20, 2020.

Family and Children’s Place serves more than 4,500 families in Louisville and Southern Indiana, and some of those services need to be held in a physical building.

“Those critical services for children hurt by sexual abuse, all that has been in person throughout the pandemic, and needs to be in person,” said Darnall.

Any immediate needs related to the building fire will be shared with the community at famchildplace.org. Members of the community who would like to support Family & Children’s Place during this unprecedented time are encouraged to make a financial donation online.

The agency is working with the building's landlord, local authorities and insurance to assess the damage and develop a recovery plan. In the meantime, clients can still be seen at the agency's New Albany office and a secondary location that will be determined soon.

Officials are still working to determine the cause of the fire. Thankfully, no one was injured.

Contact reporter Elle Smith at esmith@whas11.com or follow her on Twitter (@ellesmithtv).

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