What is a Child Advocacy Center?
A Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is a child-friendly, safe and neutral location where law enforcement and CYS (Child and Youth Services) investigators conduct and observe forensic interviews with children who are alleged victims of crimes, and where the children and non-offending caregivers receive support, crisis intervention and referrals.
A CAC uses a multi-disciplinary approach, which means agency professionals work together as a team to coordinate services during the abuse investigation. The goals of the Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team (MDIT) is to reduce the number of times a child needs to talk to different agency professionals, and to address the family’s concerns in a sensitive and timely manner.
The MDIT in each of the counties served by the CAC involve a collaborative effort among:
- the District Attorney’s Office
- state and local law enforcement agencies
- Children & Youth Services
- mental health professionals
- victim advocacy organizations
- medical personnel
- Children’s Advocacy Center personnel
To ensure the safety and protection of children, the law requires that all reports of possible abuse of children be investigated. In cases where a crime may have occurred, law enforcement must be notified.