Welcome to our Facts Page
- What a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is
- How CAC's work
- What some of the benefits are of having a CAC in your community
- What people are saying about Washington State Children's Advocacy Centers.
What is a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC)?
What is a Children's Advocacy Center?
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.
- 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.
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!