A Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is a child-focused, facility-based program in which representatives from many disciplines, including law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy, and child advocacy work together to conduct interviews and make team decisions about investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child sexual abuse cases.
CACs aim to:
- Reduce trauma to children,
- Improve the flow of information,
- Hold offenders accountable, and
- Reduce burnout.
There are many benefits to the CAC model, including:
- Quick and consistent follow-up to abuse reports,
- Dramatic reductions in the number of interviews a child must experience,
- Effective medical and mental health services or referrals, and
- An increase in successful prosecutions.
National Children's Alliance Membership:
The National Children's Alliance (NCA) is the national organization which supports CACs across the US. There are several different levels of NCA membership: accredited membership, associate/developing center membership, affiliate membership, satellite membership, and chapter membership.
Accreditation standards are standards which CACs are required to meet in order to be an accredited member. Standards include maintaining a child-focused facility; having a multi-disciplinary team; ensuring organizational capacity and cultural competency and diversity; demonstrated quality forensic interviewing, access to medical evaluations and ability to provide therapeutic interventions; engaging in victim support and advocacy; and engaging in case review and case tracking. The Northeast Regional Children's Advocacy Center also provides quality technical assistance for existing and developing CACs.
For more information about existing and developing CACs in Maine, or for information about starting a CAC in your community, send us an email via our contact page!