National Children’s Alliance Snapshot 2017

Check out A national survey of characteristics of child advocacy centers in the United States- Do the flagship models match those in broader practice While it is lengthy, it includes important information about best practices and high performing CACs that can guide each of us in our work at the local and state levels.

Here are summary points included in the report pertinent to Maryland Children’s Alliance and our local children’s advocacy centers.

  1. Nationally, 78% of CACs are nonprofits. In Maryland the picture looks very different:

With 57% of our CACs in local government; 22% nonprofits and 17% law enforcement.  (Nationally only 1.6% of CACs are in law enforcement settings.)  This means that at the state level, we need to make sure our conversations are sensitive to the unique qualities of doing this work through government and law enforcement hierarchy.  Question to consider:  what are the advantages/disadvantages of how local CACs do their work in government run programs or nonprofit organizations?  What can we learn and adopt from one another?

  1. More than one-third of all CAC funding comes from one source = state government. But NCA recommends that the healthiest CACs have a blend of funding of 68% public and 32% private funds to avoid too much dependency on one type of funding source.  For Maryland CACs in DSS offices, this blend may not be possible without a nonprofit group to fund raise.  Even the Maryland Children’s Alliance does not yet have this fundraising blend.  Question to consider: Are there opportunities for every Maryland CAC and MCA to expand its funding sources?  

 

  1. Nationally, Snapshot 2017 says that the average number of children served by all CACs is 416 children at a cost of $1490 per child.  Consider: What do your local numbers look like?  Can you even determine a set budget per CAC (if you’re government run your MDT may include people who are not on your “payroll” so that you can determine the cost per child?

 

  1. NCA recommends that the strongest, most innovative CACs across the national have strong organizational capacity to evaluate their own practices.  OMS surveys are one nationally recognized tool for assessing your local agency’s effectiveness as seen through the eyes of your children and families and MDT members.  Challenge:  If you aren’t yet using OMS, how can we help you incorporate into your best practices?

 

  1. Innovative CACs and state Chapters are the envy of us all. With accreditation and reaccreditation something they have already accomplished, CACs and state Chapters are able to consider, fund and implement new and creative programs.  Imagine this:  Have you dreamt of a Rapid Victim Response team? Can you imagine incorporating your mental health program within your CAC rather than outsourcing it?  Are you able to talk about early intervention programs that might save some of your current victims their anguish in the first place?

 

  6. Leadership at strong CACs and state Chapters means that those agencies are the conveners in their communities around issues related to child victimization.  Challenge:  Can you identify as someone or identify someone on your team who can become that voice for your children and families within your local school system, hospitals, law enforcement, legal, mental health and medical communities?

 

Snapshot 2017 is an in-depth tool providing great insights into how the most effective CACs and state Chapters work.  Examining our own work through these perspective provides a foundation for vital discussion and strategic thinking, learning and planning to ensure that our work reaches the most children possible, provides children and their families with the most resources possible and enables our network of children’s advocacy centers to lead the state in working with child victims of sexual and other traumas.

 

 

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