The Children’s Advocacy Center serves children between the ages of 3 and 17 and their non-offending family members who have been impacted by child abuse. Many of our clients are referred by Child Protective Services or Law Enforcement.
When children are brought to the CAC through Law Enforcement or Child Protective Services, a Forensic Interview is conducted with the child. This process ensures that a possible child victim has the opportunity to tell his/her story to an unbiased professional while Law Enforcement, Child Protective Services, and other child protection professionals observe from another room via closed circuit video feed. The Forensic Interviewers are trained in gathering pertinent information from the children in a non-leading, non-biased, and sensitive manner. The Forensic Interview allows the children to tell what happened in a safe, “child-friendly,” and private environment. The interview is recorded and becomes an important piece of evidence used throughout the investigation process. Today’s laws still require the child’s testimony in court instead of using the recorded interview.
To improve the likelihood of recovery from abuse, the CAC provides therapy for abused children and their non-offending family members. Trauma-focused, cognitive behavioral therapy is provided as an important part of the healing process for these children, and assists them in working through complex issues stemming from their abuse, such as trauma, shame, embarrassment, safety, and self-esteem. Therapy is individualized to meet emotional, psychological, and developmental needs of each child, and is provided for as long as the services are needed to help the child rebuild.
The role of the family advocate is to provide support to the child and their non-offending family members and to assist them in navigating the legal and court process. Services include facilitating criminal case information, making referrals to other supporting agencies, and assistance with applying for Crime Victims’ Compensation. The Family Advocate will also provide court accompaniment during any judicial proceedings. Families may also receive assistance through school supply assistance, holiday programs, and other family events.
The CAC offers educational opportunities to professionals, parents, and community organizations on identification, reporting, and prevention of child abuse and neglect. Programs include:
- Stewards of Children. This program uses a mix of survivor stories, expert advice, and practical guidance for preventing child sexual abuse, and is appropriate for any adult concerned about the well-being of children. The course is video based, takes 2 – 2.5 hours to complete, and fulfills state child abuse education requirements for educators.
- Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse. This program covers recognizing the types of abuse, your obligation to report, and other valuable information. The course takes 1 hour to complete and fulfills state child abuse education requirements for educators.
- The Children’s Advocacy Center. This program is a general information presentation about the Children’s Advocacy Center, and can be tailored to your group and time frame.
Please contact us for more information on our programs or to schedule a speaker or training.