What is a Child Advocacy Center?
Child Advocacy Centers (CAC’s) are child-friendly facilities where child victims of maltreatment may be interviewed, undergo medical examinations, and receive therapy.
Child Advocacy Centers stress coordination of investigation and intervention services by bringing together professionals and agencies as a multi-disciplinary team to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases. This multi-disciplinary team is comprised of members from many disciplines including law enforcement, social services, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy who work together in the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases. The main goal of all CAC’s is to ensure that children are not re-victimized by the very system designed to protect them.
CAC’s in Maryland are locally-based and each is uniquely designed to best meet the needs of its own community.
What do Child Advocacy Centers Offer?
An environment in which child victims feel more comfortable describing the events in the presences of all agencies involved. It is a place:
- where law enforcement personnel, state attorneys and child protective service workers promptly investigate alleged incidents of child abuse.
- where physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abused children may receive counseling and psychological services to help them overcome the trauma of abusive parents.
- where families receive the support needed when they learn that a child in the family may have been abused.
- where trained professionals and interested volunteers can work together to improve the safety and well-being of children through intervention and prevention in their communities.
- where a complete medical forensic evaluation can be conducted by trained, specialized medical staff.