Visiting Our Center

Visiting Our Center

You Have the Most Critical Role in Your Child’s Healing

Many children who visit ACCAC have been traumatized by past and ongoing experiences. We want to support you and convey that your child’s trauma can be healed.

Children experience their world in the context of family relationships. You are your child’s most important supporter. The traumatic event your child has experienced may be stressful and traumatic for you as well. Taking care of yourself helps you take care of your child. Our Child & Family Advocates are here to help you deal with your family’s situation, identify needed resources and supports, and prepare you for the future. 

About Your Child’s Visit To the Center

We know that when something has happened to your child, it is a difficult, stressful, and confusing time for your family. We hope this information helps you understand what to expect before, during, and after your child’s visit to the Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center (ACCAC).

We are here for you as long as you want and need our help. Our child-friendly facility and services are designed to reduce possible stress on your child and provide a safe, comfortable, neutral setting. The ACCAC staff are here to provide multiple services in one location to help your child and your family heal from the trauma of abuse.

The ACCAC coordinates a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who respond to reports of child abuse, neglect or exploitation, as well as cases of a child witnessing violence. The ACCAC works with social workers, police, prosecutors, advocates, and medical and mental health professionals to provide high-quality, specialized services for these children.

Working together, the team’s objectives are to:

  • Minimize the impact of trauma on your child and your family
  • Focus on restoring your child’s physical and emotional health
  • Provide consistent, quality services in a culturally competent manner
  • Work collaboratively to provide a coordinated, multidisciplinary response to reports of child abuse and neglect throughout each phase of your child’s case.

Most reports of child abuse require an interview of the child. To limit the number of times your child needs to be interviewed, ACCAC coordinates an initial (forensic) interview. This interview involves a specially-trained ACCAC staff member who talks with your child about things that have happened to them or things they have witnessed. Team members directly involved with the investigation observe the interview from another room via video. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Your child is our first priority. The ACCAC provides a place that is comfortable, friendly, and safe for children to talk. The forensic interview and a multi-disciplinary investigative team approach help reduce your child’s trauma by limiting the number of times they must talk about their experience. Services to your family will be better coordinated, and you will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the people working on your child’s case. ACCAC staff are here to support you as well. A Child & Family Advocate will meet with you during your child’s forensic interview to talk through your questions and concerns and discuss available services with you.

Children are most comfortable when they have been informed about what to expect. It is important to explain to your child that they will be talking to someone about what has happened. The interviewer is a person who talks to many children and teens. You should not tell your child what to say, but encourage them to tell the truth. Some children may need to be reassured and told that they have done nothing wrong.

You may not be sure what to tell your child about the interview. Here is a suggestion: “The ACCAC is a safe place where children can talk about what happened to them.”

When you and your child arrive at the ACCAC, you will be welcomed by our staff and escorted to the Family Room. The Family Room has books, games, and toys. Interviews take place in a separate room designed to make your child feel comfortable.   

It is better that you do not question your child prior to the interview. If your child wants to talk with you about what happened, be supportive, listen attentively, and try to avoid asking questions. Reassure your child that he or she is safe now.

Your child will talk to a forensic interviewer by themselves. The interviewer has special training and experience in talking with children about difficult subjects. The interviewer asks neutral, fact-finding questions in a way that is sensitive to your child’s age and ability. Questions are asked in a non-threatening and non-leading manner. The interview is audio and digitally recorded.

Caregivers do not sit with their child during the interview. Most children are comfortable separating from their caregiver and talking with the forensic interviewer. The Interview Room is right across the hall from the Family Room. You can remain in the Family Room, and the Child & Family Advocate may sit with you.

Caregivers are not able to sit with the team during an interview. Team members need to focus on observing, assessing, and documenting the interview.  You will have an opportunity to speak with the team after the interview.

Participation in this interview does not mean that your child will never have to speak about the incident(s) again. The team will consult with you about the next steps in the investigation and discuss your family’s involvement in the process.

You are more than welcome to bring a support person with you to the ACCAC. However, the person accused of abuse/maltreatment is not allowed to accompany you.

You will be given the opportunity to speak with members of the investigative team. They will tell you in general terms what they learned from the interview. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns.

The investigative team encourages all children who may have been sexually abused to undergo a forensic medical exam. Forensic medical exams are conducted by trained Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner nurses and conducted at the ACCAC in a child-friendly room. The nurse will meet with you to explain the forensic medical exam and answer any questions you may have. You may sit with your child during their medical exam.

Mental health services are often essential for the recovery of victims of abuse because children typically lack the skills necessary to deal with trauma without support. Qualified mental health therapists are trained to identify, assess, and provide evidence-based therapy for children suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and other disorders that result from abuse and neglect. The Child & Family Advocate can refer your child to a trained mental health therapist located at the ACCAC or a different location. Learn more about our mental health services here.  

Learn more about how to talk to your child about abuse.