Harmony House celebrated the opening of its new facility at 68 Spring Station Drive with an open house and ribbon cutting on Thursday.
Harmony House is a member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia and serves the five counties that make up the Northern Judicial Circuit.
They include Elbert, Franklin, Hart, Madison and Oglethorpe Counties.
Director Laurie Whitworth called the new, state-of-the-art center a dream come true.
Whitworth said since Harmony House opened, hundreds of children and adults have been helped.
“The services we provide for each child is seven, which means 7,000 services for children here,” Whitworth said. “We have served over 3,000 non-offending family members of those children. That translates to about 21,000 services for those family members.”
The idea for Harmony House came some ten years ago from Hart County Sheriff Mike Cleveland after he attended a state conference.
Cleveland said he saw a need in this area for a safe place for child victims of sexual abuse and neglect to get the care and attention they need.
“I felt sorry for anybody that has a problem with a child, whether it be sexual abuse, neglect, or whatever,” Cleveland said. “Even with the best that we can do with an interview, it’s still an interview, and when it’s in the surroundings of a hospital or just a cold setting, then that child has been traumatized twice.”
Since it opened, the non-profit facility has had a number of homes, but the one opened Thursday, District Attorney Parks White called better than anything he’s seen in larger cities.
“I come from Augusta, which is a much larger area,” White said. “The quality of the services you perform at the older facility I visited during my campaign was better than the one in Augusta. And this one is just amazing. It’s truly a treasure.”
In addition to providing services for children of sexual abuse, Harmony House now also offers services for adult victims of rape and other sexual assault crimes.