Lancaster County Children’s Alliance

Lancaster, PA

This children’s advocacy center brings child abuse professionals together in one location to support the needs of victims and non-offending family members. The center’s former location was undersized and was not fully accessible. This retrofit project converted a three-story downtown residence to better support increasing program needs.

The 7,400 square foot renovated building contains five “pods” on the first and second floors.  Each pod is comprised of a consultation room, observation room and forensic room. A private family counseling space is adjacent to the lobby area on the first floor and a conference room is located of the second floor. The third level is used for staff offices and storage needs. Parking is provided behind the building with an accessible ramp leading to the entrance that has been discreetly located along the side of the building.

A Place to Feel Safe

All of the support spaces are designed to be inviting and friendly, but not distracting to the families and children who can range from pre-school to teenagers. Acoustical separation between spaces is a priority, particularly for the pod spaces.  Natural light, bright pops of color and nature references are designed to help support the healing process.  A large mural provides a positive visual distraction in each of the medical exam rooms and donor recognition and room signs feature a colorful leaf motif. A non-operating fireplace in the lobby remains as a simple visual feature for the space.

Support for Multidisciplinary Team Members

The Center’s multidisciplinary team includes child protection workers, law enforcement officers, medical providers, prosecutors, victim advocates, mental health providers, and advocacy center staff. The new center provides larger, more flexible and technology integrated spaces to accommodate this diverse group of professionals.

A staff breakroom was a much needed amenity that became a possibility in the new space.  Although modestly sized, the kitchenette and dining area is flooded with natural light and the breakroom was positioned to provide staff members with access to an existing balcony.

Meeting a Community Need

The new center provides more space to better coordinate the investigation and prosecution of child sex crimes, while also supporting the needs of those served. Children and their families can report allegations and use resources in the same place while having their privacy protected.

We are all still basking in the glow with how the new Lancaster County Children’s Alliance Center turned out when completed. It’s a warm and welcoming space with so many design details that provide an ideal place for children in our community to begin their journey to healing. RLPS was an invested partner that helped bring our vision to life.

Jennifer Groff, Vice President; LG Health Foundation

Photo Credit: Nathan Cox Photography