For more than 20 years, START, a non-profit agency, has been addressing the needs of youths who are victims of sexual or physical abuse, human trafficking, or have been witness to violence or crime.
In 1993 the START Team was created by then District Attorney Mary O. Donohue in order to allow for the exchange of confidential information between various service providers to reduce trauma to victims of sexual and physical abuse. This team of workers was able to secure money from a New York State Office of Children and Family Services grant.
In 1998 former Rensselaer County District Attorney, Kenneth R. Bruno, was able to obtain a grant from the New York State Crime Victims Assistance Board in order to hire a Case Manager and an Executive Director for the beginning of a child advocacy center. In April 1999 the Center opened with four rooms in the Rensselaer County Court House. One year later in April 2000, the Center moved to a location on Burdett Ave in Troy, NY with the help of Senator Joseph Bruno and Northeast Health. In 2008 the Center moved to a location on Pawling Ave in Troy, NY. After that the Center moved to a location on 6th Avenue in Troy, NY. The Center is currently located at 127 Bloomingrove Drive.
On September 17, 2021 the child advocacy center portion of the agency was dedicated in memory of Dr. Richard Hamill who passed away in 2012. Richard’s family, friends, and colleagues joined together to celebrate his life and contributions to the child welfare field. Richard was involved in the creation of the START Children’s Center, Inc. Richard’s contributions to the mental health field were vast, but he always remained humble. He believed in the goodness of people and did not easily pass judgment or lose patience. He was known for his professionalism, kindness and humor. He was an advocate for children and committed to ensuring appropriate trauma-informed services were available. His memory lives on through the work is done each day.