Baltimore Sun

LifeBridge Health to merge vic­tim ser­vices with vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion

- By Hal­lie Miller Society · Child Abuse · Law Enforcement · Violence and Abuse · Law · Baltimore · Pimlico · Goucher College

LifeBridge Health will merge the med­i­cal sys­tem’s vic­tims ser­vices re­sources with vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion, do­mes­tic and el­der abuse pro­grams un­der a sin­gle roof in North Bal­ti­more to pro­vide pa­tients with a se­cure and up­lift­ing space to heal.

Dubbed the Cen­ter for Hope, the pro­posed Park Heights fa­cil­ity will con­tain clinic and ther­apy rooms, art and play space and a con­fer­ence cen­ter, as well as spe­cial­ized space for Child Abuse Cen­ter staff to con­duct foren­sic interviews and for law en­force­ment to col­lab­o­rate on cases and con­duct wit­ness interviews. De­vel­op­ers will build the cen­ter ad­ja­cent to Pim­lico Race Course in what is now a LifeBridge em­ployee park­ing lot, a team of de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects told Bal­ti­more’s Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment and Ar­chi­tec­ture Ad­vi­sory Panel dur­ing a Thurs­day meet­ing.

LifeBridge, which over­sees Si­nai Hos­pi­tal, North­west Hos­pi­tal, Car­roll Hos­pi­tal and Levin­dale He­brew Geri­atric Cen­ter and Hos­pi­tal, in­cor­po­rated the Bal­ti­more Child Abuse Cen­ter as a wholly owned sub­sidiary early last year.

Adam Rosen­berg, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Bal­ti­more Child Abuse Cen­ter, said the new fa­cil­ity will pro­vide a co­or­di­nated, “one-stop shop” for vic­tims, law en­force­ment, med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, ad­vo­cates and so­cial work­ers. En­hanc­ing the speed and ef­fi­ciency of ser­vice helps pre­vent fur­ther trau­ma­tiz­ing vic­tims in vul­ner­a­ble sit­u­a­tions, he said. “Bal­ti­more needs a lot of hope right now, and we’re here to work with them to help each com­mu­nity mem­ber find that hope again,” Rosen­berg said. “We’re not giv­ing them hope — we’re work­ing with them to find the hope within them­selves.”

The cen­ter comes with a price tag of about $12 mil­lion, Rosen­berg said, about $6 mil­lion of which of­fi­cials hope to fund through pub­lic cap­i­tal cam­paigns. Close to $2 mil­lion al­ready has been se­cured.

The Bal­ti­more Child Abuse Cen­ter cur­rently op­er­ates out of a for­mer Goucher Col­lege dor­mi­tory in down­town Bal­ti­more.

Mov­ing to Park Heights will pro­vide the cen­ter with a more neigh­bor­hood-style feel, Rosen­berg said, and place the fa­cil­ity in closer prox­im­ity to where most of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s clients live.

“It made sense to fo­cus ser­vices in that area,” said Rosen­berg, adding that many chil­dren it serves hap­pen to be from the 21215 area, which does not nec­es­sar­ily mean that kids in that area suf­fer more abuse than any­where else in Bal­ti­more. “When the op­por­tu­nity arose to re­lo­cate there, it made sense to not only pro­vide city­wide ser­vices but also ser­vices for those spe­cific neigh­bor­hoods and com­mu­ni­ties that had a greater amount of need.”

Scott Ro­bi­son, prin­ci­pal ar­chi­tect with Hord Co­plan Macht, said the team hopes to in­cor­po­rate themes of hope, heal­ing and re­siliency in the cen­ter with large win­dows, thought­ful col­ors and en­closed, out­door spa­ces for “ther­a­peu­tic play.” The cen­ter will house med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices as well as ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices, com­mu­nity re­sources and a cri­sis re­sponse team, he said. “We want to pro­vide heal­ing and hope for the sur­vivor the mo­ment they ar­rive,” Ro­bi­son said. “The de­signs help fa­cil­i­tate heal­ing.”

Ro­bi­son said the team looked at stud­ies of “trust­wor­thy” col­ors as well as those that can be en­gag­ing and invit­ing for chil­dren as well as adults. The team used other ex­ist­ing vic­tim ad­vo­cacy cen­ters for de­sign in­spi­ra­tion, in­clud­ing one in Chicago.

The team will in­cor­po­rate a tree canopy as well as flow­ers, peren­ni­als and shrubs to cre­ate “a friendly face,” said Pa­trick Wheal­ton, an as­so­ciate land­scape ar­chi­tect at Hord Co­plan Macht. The spa­cious win­dows will pro­vide the build­ing’s in­te­rior with plenty of nat­u­ral sun­light, an­other po­ten­tial source of com­fort for vic­tims.

The cen­ter will not house overnight fa­cil­i­ties or in­pa­tient ser­vices.

Rosen­berg said the 32,000-square-foot cen­ter could be op­er­a­tional by March 2022. So far, the coro­n­avirus pan­demic has not dis­rupted the cen­ter’s open­ing time­line, he said.

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