Between Hurricane Sally and COVID-19, it’s been a tough year. But through all that, Gulf Coast Kid’s House (GCKH) has continued to provide a safe place for children and families who are victims of child abuse, helping more than 3,000 children in 2020.

“Right now, 1 in 10 children in our community are impacted by abuse,” said Stacey Kostevicki, executive director for Gulf Coast Kid’s House. “Our child advocacy center serves the most egregious victims of child abuse in Escambia County. We combine all of the professionals and resources needed for the intervention, investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases under one child-friendly facility.”

To support this mission, the GCKH is one of four centers in Northwest Florida to receive grants from the Gulf Power Foundation. The four – Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Gulf Coast Kid’s House, Santa Rosa Kid’s House and Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center – will receive $100,000 to support their efforts throughout Northwest Florida.

“Agencies likes the Gulf Coast Kid’s House Center provide a critical need in our community for those that are most vulnerable,” said Sandy Sims, executive director for the Gulf Power Foundation. “The Gulf Power Foundation is proud to be able to assist them in their important work. It’s just one of many ways we seek to support our communities in Northwest Florida.”

The grant will help GCKH with immediate family needs such as counseling as well as child abuse prevention programs. GCKH teaches all students K-12 regarding child abuse and child trafficking prevention and has created an online, 40-minute training, “Know Child Abuse” (www.knowchildabuse.org) so that all adults in our community can learn to recognize, report and respond to child abuse.

“Gulf Power Foundation is always so appreciated – and I can’t say how much so this year,” Kostevicki said. “We have seen a dramatic increase in child abuse cases as our community faces challenges from Hurricane Sally and the COVID-19 pandemic. We can never truly express our gratitude for Gulf Power Foundation’s investment in GCKH and the children we serve.”

The Gulf Power Foundation has operated for 30 years as an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, partnering and investing in communities throughout Northwest Florida. The Foundation is one of the region’s largest corporate foundations, funded entirely through resources independent of Gulf Power’s customers. Learn more about the Foundation and its quarterly grant program here: https://www.gulfpowerfoundation.com/.

About Gulf Coast Kid’s House

Gulf Coast Kid’s House is a private, not-for-profit which provides services to victims of child abuse in Escambia County. GCKH is a children’s advocacy center serving Pensacola and Escambia County. As a children’s advocacy center, they combine all of the professionals and resources needed for the intervention, investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases under one child-friendly facility. Child victims and their families also receive mental health counseling at their center. The goal of Gulf Coast Kid’s House is to form a more collaborative response to child abuse cases so that they can improve case outcomes and minimize trauma to the children and families we serve.