Senators gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would set up three Children Justice Centers in Salt Lake, Weber and Utah counties.

The centers would be operated by non-profit corporations, which would get private, state and federal money. The state's share would be $300,000.The centers would provide a safe, residential setting for abused children during initial stages of a police investigation. "The system has been very successful in Alabama for 10 years," said sponsor Craig Peterson, R-Orem.

Several Utah cities already have volunteer centers that provide the same service. They won't be harmed by the new plan and may join the program later if they so desire, Peterson said.