WHAT IS A CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER?
Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) are child-focused facilities that help abused children heal by coordinating the investigation and treatment of child sexual abuse and providing children and families access to long-term advocacy and healthcare. To better understand what a CAC is, you must understand what children face without one.
Without a CAC, a child may end up having to tell the worst experience of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, police, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may not get the help they need to heal once the investigation is over. At the CAC, the child tells what happened to them once to a trained professional.
When police or child protective services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask. Then, based on the interview, a multidisciplinary team (MDT) that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health providers, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocates, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child. Finally, they offer a wide range of services like therapy, medical exams, courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and more. This multidisciplinary team (MDT) response is the backbone of the CAC.
DID YOU KNOW?
Child sexual abuse, and other forms of child maltreatment, are known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and strongly relate to the development and prevalence of a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s lifespan, including those associated with substance abuse.
27.1% of children aged 0 to 17 in Ohio have experienced two or more ACEs. Reference
CACs ARE FOR ALL CHILDREN
Ohio’s children’s advocacy centers are a safe place for all children and families in Ohio regardless of race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender identity, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, documented status, or insurance coverage.
Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers Policies