The model of the Children’s Advocacy Center is set up to provide services to children who have suffered abuse in the most child-friendly and effective way. The CAC houses many important services that are nessecary when a report of abuse has been made.
Once a report of abuse is screened in, the Department of Children’s services will begin their investigation. The CAC plays a key role in many investigations, providing a professional forensic interview conducted by a trained CAC Forensic Interviewer. While the child is being seen for their interview, advocacy services are provided to the non-offending caregiver. The Child Protective Investigative Team is housed at the CAC, who comes together monthly to discuss cases and determine their outcomes. The team is comprised of DCS, law enforcement, District Attorney’s Office, medical personnel, CAC staff, therapists, and more.
Advocacy services continue throughout the investigation, providing support and more throughout the investigation and possible court hearings. The CAC of Sullivan County provides free therapy services to children and families as well.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Before the CAC model, children and families were shuffled from agency to agency to access needed services. Oftentimes, services provided were not always child-friendly. The child may have to tell their story over and over without a CAC, further traumatizing them and potentially hurting the case against the abuser.
When a child and their family is brought to a CAC, they are provided with appropriate services all under one roof. The goal of the CAC model is to make child abuse investigations more child-friendly and effective by combining services for children and their families.