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Miss. Gulf Coast child abuse center may close

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Updated: 7/05 1:13 pm

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Gulfport's Child Abuse Prevention Center may close for lack of funding.

The Sun Herald reports that the center has already laid off all but two employees and may close by the end of July.

Harrison County District Attorney Joel Smith says the center's most crucial program is forensic interviewing of abused children. He says the interviews help prosecutors present court cases.

Other agencies with employees trained in forensic interviewing would be able to step in for the short term, but Smith says the area needs a full-time interviewer.

Jim Allen, a director, says the center needs at least $100,000 to employ two workers and an executive director through year's end, and more than $200,000 to employ a full staff.

Allen says the center is considering merging with another area nonprofit.

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