What is a Children's Advocacy Center?
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Children's Advocacy Centers Are:
Children's Advocacy Centers are:
- Child-focused, child-friendly facilities where children and their non offending family members feel safe enough to get the help they need to stop abuse and begin the process of healing.
- A center where representatives from many disciplines meet to discuss and make decisions about investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases.
- They also work to prevent further victimization of children.
- Children's Advocacy Centers use a multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach which brings together all the professionals and agencies needed to offer comprehensive services; law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental health, the medical community and advocacy.
⇒ To understand the importance of a CAC it is helpful to understand what children face without one.
Without a Children's Advocacy Center:
- The child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, cops, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and many others.
- They may have to talk about their tramatic event in a police station, where a young child might think they are in trouble.
- They may be asked the wrong questions by a daycare staff member, well-meaning teacher/school counselor, or other adult that could potentially hurt the judicial case against the abuser.
How does a CAC work?
Find out how CAC's Help Children by watching this quick 1 minute video:
View the Children's Advocacy Center Model below to understand the core funtions of law enforcement, CPS and where Children's Advocacy Centers join in to provide vital services to the child and their non offending family members:
What are the benefits of a CAC?
What are the benefits of having a CAC in your community?
Communities that have developed a Children's Advocacy Center experience many benefits such as:
- less trauma to child victims during the investigative process
- better communication between professionals
- increased access by children and their families to community resources
- more immediate follow-up to child abuse reports
- more efficient medical and mental health referrals
- reduction in the number of child abuse victim interviews
- increased number of successful prosecutions
- consistent support for child victims and supportive adults.
This comprehensive approach, with follow-up services provided by the CAC, ensures that children receive child-focused services in a child-friendly environment - one in which the child's needs come first!