To ensure all children across the U.S. who are served by CACs receive consistent, evidence-based interventions that help them heal, National Children’s Alliance (NCA) developed Standards for Accredited Members. These Standards not only allow CACs to demonstrate they are delivering services that reflect an effective, high level of care, they also act as a valuable road map for CACs, MDTs, Boards and other stakeholders to ensure children and families are provided services that are trauma-informed, evidence-based, and developmentally and culturally appropriate. By meeting the accreditation standards, CACs provide assurance to parents, policymakers, funders and other community members that children who come to a CAC receive services that reflect nationally recognized and recommended practices.
When law enforcement or child protective services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other safe adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not re-traumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health professionals, prosecutors, child protective services, and victim advocates make decisions together about how to help the child. A victim advocate works with the child and their family throughout the life of the case.
CACs offer therapy and medical exams, courtroom preparation, case management, and other services. This multidisciplinary team (MDT) response is the core of the work of CACs
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Washington envisions a world where every child has local access to trauma-informed and evidence-based services through a CAC. These centers provide services designed to help children and families heal from abuse. All accredited CACs must meet the standards established by National Children’s Alliance.