A Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is a community-based, child-focused facility where children alleged to be victims of abuse or neglect are interviewed, receive medical exams, if necessary, therapy, and other critical services in a non-threatening and child friendly environment. A CAC brings together an array of professionals to confer and conclude about investigations, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases. The primary goal of a CAC is to minimize the level of trauma experienced by child victims, improve prosecutions and provide efficient and thorough provision of necessary services to the child victim and the child's family.
Children's Advocacy Centers provide services such as:
- Forensic interviews conducted in a non-threatening, child-friendly environment
- Crisis intervention and emotional support for victims and non-offending family members
- Counseling for victims and non-offending family members so that they may begin to heal from emotional wounds associated with child abuse
- Medical evaluations and services
- Multidisciplinary review of cases by a team of professionals, such as law enforcement officials, child protection teams, prosecutors, medical professionals, mental health professionals, victim assistance staff and child advocates
- Evidence-based prevention and intervention programs to reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment and to provide safe and caring homes for children
- Professional training and community education to effectively respond to child abuse
How does the CAC Model work?