Merger means Jacob Wetterling Resource Center will expand national footprint

January 03, 2019 07:19 PM

Big changes are coming for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.

The Center is merging with the Zero Abuse Project (ZAP). It means the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center will be able to do even more to advocate for families and prevent child abuse nationally.


"This is great news, we are very excited" said Alison Feigh, Director of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center.

"We were looking for the opportunity to work with ZAP to grow our message, to grow the families that we serve. It was a wonderful fit. And so we will still remain the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center."

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JWRC is leaving the Gundersen Health System, which serves counties in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The Zero Abuse Project will give it a larger footprint.

ZAP will be based in St. Paul, but will have national impact. 

ZAP was launched by Jeff Anderson and Associates and the Mitchell Hamline School of Law to train legal professionals when it comes to how to respond to child sex abuse cases.

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center will fill the role of serving families that are impacted. 

"It's always great to have different people with different expertise all being in the same space, moving the same mission forward," Feigh said. "And one of the things we're excited about with ZAP is different professionals in different realms of prevention all under one umbrella, and doing this work and moving forward for kids."

An announcement from ZAP describes it as a public charity committed to education, training, and survivor support in order to eradicate child sex abuse and remedy its resulting harms.

Victor Vieth, founder and former senior director of National Child Protection Training Center at Gundersen, is ZAP's Director of Research and Education.

"Together with the entire staff of the Zero Abuse Project, I look forward to incorporating NCPTC's education and training programs with the current JWRC/NCPTC staff into our organization, as well as continuing this important body of work," Vieth said.  

Feigh said the only change most people will notice is the JWRC website and email addresses.

The hotline number to call for help remains the same: 1-800-325-HOPE (4673).

Patty Wetterling and her husband Jerry founded the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center after their son Jacob was abducted.

"We are really excited about this," Patty Wetterling said. "It will allow us to respond faster to families. It just feels right. The hope grows stronger for parents with missing and exploited children."

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center will move from Minneapolis to new office space in St. Paul by the end of this year.


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Kevin Doran

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