WJTV News Channel 12 - TEDI BEAR clinic at risk of closing

TEDI BEAR clinic at risk of closing

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 A resource for abused children is at risk of closing. On Thursday, the director of the TEDI BEAR clinic confirms the ECU Brody School is considering cutting a third of its funding.

In an internal memo from Chancellor Steve Ballard to employees he says that in order to remain strong, they must address their fiscal reality and implement efficiency measures.

In the last five years Ballard says the school of medicine lost $9.2 million because of state cuts.

The TEDI BEAR clinic is one of school's facets on the chopping block. DSS and law enforcement say this would be a huge mistake.

"If we don't have that service here, I 'm afraid that there are going to be people that fall through the cracks." Major Paula Dance said.

During her time handling child sex abuse cases, dance says TEDI BEAR was their source, and it's the source for 29 counties.

If a child was abused physically or sexually, a child would typically receive advocacy services, a forensic interview, medical examination and treatment.

"I think that's one of the biggest parts of it, it's providing the therapy because you know it's usually a cycle, and without that therapy, the cycle continues." Dance said.

The District Attorney's office is also speaking out. They say closing the clinic will affect how they prosecute cases.

"It would make our job much more difficult, we would have to have more resources at the district attorney’s office and also other agencies.” Phillip Entzminger, Assistant District Attorney said. “We would have to provide more training for these cases." 

In a statement, ECU said:

“University leadership is reviewing all programs and services at the Brody School of Medicine and considering the elimination of programs that are not core to the education of medical students or to providing clinical services that target the most prevalent health issues of the region. However, we will not be in a position to make any decisions until we receive notice of our state budget appropriation for this fiscal year.”

Brody now faces an anticipated operational shortfall of as much as $12-14 million this fiscal year. A final decision will be made when the Governor signs the budget.

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