Child advocacy center to open after renovation of old building

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / May 24, 2000

LULING – The St. Charles Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse held awork day Saturday as volunteers worked with trustee labor from St. CharlesSheriff Greg Champagne on the group’s new parenting center.

The center will be located in the former St. Charles Insurance building at700-702 Paul Maillard Road, across from Hibernia National Bank.

President Deborah Zeringue, Vice-President Wayne Gaupp and Sheriff Champagne were on hand to supervise the discarding of old paneling, ceiling tiles and carpeting. “We got all the walls stripped and the tile off the ceiling,”Gaupp said. “We still have some plywood to get down and some floor tiles totake up.” The building itself will be cleaned and refurbished prior to the group moving in for operation as the Madere Parenting Center, named for the Luling family who donated the building.

New plumbing, wiring and sheetrock will be done in the next few weeks, as well as installing a new air-conditioning and heating unit.

Gaupp said the center will coordinate with law enforcement, the court system and other social services agencies to teach parenting skills and produce happier, more emotionally-stable families, working especially with teen-age parents.

Besides the sheriff, District Attorney Harry Morel and the state Office of Child Services will be working out of the building, Gaupp said, with further assistance coming from the St. Charles Rotary Club.The organization dates back to 1990 when it first formed as a chapter of the Louisiana Council on Child Abuse. “We’ve come a long way through somehighs and lows,” Gaupp commented.

One of the original founding board members, Gaupp said she got involved when she and a few others were approached to get involved with a child sex abuse case in the local district court. “We decided there was a need for thegroup,” she said.

The organization conducted educational programs, including a popular puppet theater in local schools.

“We saw that programs alone weren’t the answer,” Gaupp said. “We neededan advocacy center.”The 80-member Council for Prevention of Child Abuse hopes with the Madere Parenting Center to attain a higher profile in the community, offering everything from parenting skill classes for teen-age mothers to stress- management programs for parents of all ages.

The group plans to hire an executive director, secretary and, if possible, a board-certified social worker.

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