Penn State to fund two child advocacy programs
For the second straight year, Pennsylvania State University will provide two regional child advocacy groups with money the school would have otherwise collected from football bowl revenue.
University officials said the school would distribute close to $230,000 to the Stewards of Children education and prevention program and the Children's Advocacy Center, two Centre County organizations that are dedicated to protecting children.
As part of the sanctions imposed by the NCAA and Big Ten Conference following child sex-abuse crimes committed by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, the Nittany Lions were prohibited last season from playing in postseason games. That meant the school had to forfeit its share of the $2.75 million it would have earned during the 2014 bowl season.
Last year, the same two groups got more than $188,000, administered through the Centre County United Way.
Members of the organizations say that the money has been transformative, and that it has gone directly to improve training to help people recognize signs of abuse in children, and to identifying better intervention and treatment plans for children suffering from abuse or neglect.
The Children's Advocacy Center, part of Mount Nittany Health, opened this year in Bellefonte as a facility where child abuse victims can seek care in a centralized setting, as opposed to having to tell their story repeatedly to officials in different departments.
"Our focus is to make every child feel safe and secure," said Mount Nittany Health spokeswoman Erin Welsh.
The sanctions prevent Penn State from competing in the postseason or collecting bowl revenue, which is split equally among conference members, for four years.