Being Informed Helps Children
A Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is a child-friendly, neutral setting, where children can tell one person their experience. Generally, children describe instances of abuse, but may also discuss times they have witnessed violence. This process reduces the amount of trauma the children must relive, by limiting the number of times they recount their experiences.
CACs also provide advocacy and support services to families and may also provide education to the local communities and therapy services to the children seen at the center. The CAC relies on a multidisciplinary investigative team model (MDIT) to investigate cases of child abuse and support the families involved. These teams include many partners in addition to the CAC staff, such as Children & Youth agencies, law enforcement, the district attorney’s offices, healthcare providers, and mental health providers.
In 1985, the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC) was founded in Huntsville, Alabama, as a response to child sexual abuse cases. The NCAC began training others on their model, including the use of the MDIT, and communities began adopting the CAC approach to investigations. In the beginning, 367 staff across the southeastern United States were trained in the model. Presently, all 50 states utilize the CAC/MDIT model, as well as 179 countries.
Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center was founded in 2006.
Communities that utilize the CAC/MDIT model have higher rates of coordinated efforts between law enforcement and CYS agencies, as well as higher rates of child-friendly interview procedures. These communities also show a significant increase in felony prosecutions and faster criminal charging decisions for child sexual abuse cases.
CACs also provide easier access to healthcare services through forensic medical exams. Caregivers and children report higher rates of satisfaction with the system, as well as lower rates of being scared or nervous, when seen at a CAC.
Financially, traditional investigations are 36% more expensive than CAC investigations, according to the NCAC 2005 cost-benefit study. All services provided by the CAC are free to the children and families we serve, ensuring that cost is never a barrier to meeting their needs.
All cases are referred through local law enforcement departments or through Adams County Children and Youth Services.
If you suspect or know of a child being abused, call ChildLine to report it immediately: 1-800-932-0313.
You do not need to be a mandated reporter to report suspected or known child abuse. Anyone can make a report via ChildLine (1-800-932-0313), at any time of day.
However, a mandated reporter is someone required by law to report suspected or known child abuse. A mandated reporter status usually comes from employment or volunteer services and includes the following situations:
- A person licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department of State.
- A medical examiner, coroner, or funeral director.
- An employee of a healthcare facility or provider licensed by the Department of Health, who is engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of individuals.
- A school employee.
- An employee of a childcare service who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
- A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer, or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization.
- An individual, paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual’s role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity, or service, is a person responsible for the child’s welfare or has direct contact with children.
- An employee of a social services agency who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
- A peace officer or law enforcement official.
- An emergency medical services provider certified by the Department of Health.
- An employee of a public library who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
- An individual supervised or managed by a person listed above, who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.
- An independent contractor who has direct contact with children.
- An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution, organization, or other entity, including a school or regularly established religious organization that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children.
- A foster parent.
- An adult family member who is a person responsible for the child’s welfare and provides services to a child in a family living home, a community home for individuals with an intellectual disability, or a host home for children which are subject to supervision or licensure by the department under Articles IX and X of the Public Welfare Code.
The Adams County CAC is a licensed 501(c)3 non-profit, funded through state funding, grants, fundraisers, and our generous local donors.