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Children's Advocacy Centers

Children's Advocacy Centers coordinate the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases.
Description

Overview

Children's Advocacy Centers coordinate the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases by utilizing multidisciplinary teams of professionals involved in child protective and victim advocacy services, law enforcement and prosecution, and physical and mental health.

Children's Advocacy Centers must include the following components:

  • Child-appropriate facility.
  • Multidisciplinary team.
  • Designated legal entity responsible for program and fiscal operations.
  • Culturally competent policies and practices.
  • Forensic interviews conducted in an objective, nonduplicative manner.
  • Medical evaluation and treatment.
  • Therapeutic intervention.
  • Victim support/advocacy.
  • Case review and tracking.

Four regional centers provide consultation and training and technical assistance services to communities that are developing local centers and also services to strengthen existing centers. The regional centers work cooperatively with the National Children's Alliance, which provides national leadership and advocacy for local centers. The Alliance also provides training, technical assistance, and networking opportunities to communities that are planning, establishing, or improving local centers.

The National Children's Advocacy Center, dedicated to developing and researching best practice models, provides education, training and professional services to promote excellence in child abuse response and prevention. The Native American Children's Alliance is an intertribal, cross-mentoring organization whose mission is to inspire and support the development, growth, and maintenance of multi-disciplinary teams and Children's Advocacy Centers in Native American and Alaska Native communities in their efforts to address child abuse.

Programs and Funding

Each year, the National Children's Alliance releases its request for proposals to provide monetary subgrants to existing and developing Children's Advocacy Centers. Applications and information are available on the National Children's Alliance website.

Research and Evaluation

The National Institute of Justice has published a resource book to assist administrators of Children's Advocacy Centers in program evaluation.

Training and Technical Assistance

The four regional centers provide training and technical assistance to existing and developing center programs. The National Children's Advocacy Center and the National Children's Alliance also provide training and technical assistance.

Resources

OJJDP Publication(s)

Child Physical Abuse: A Guide to the CAC Response
OJJDP-Sponsored, April 2018. The National Children's Alliance convened a workgroup on CACs delivering evidence-based interventions to meet the specific needs of physical abuse victims, and this guide presents their considerations, tips, and resources. NCJ 251753.
PDF

Healing, Justice, and Trust: A National Report on Outcomes for Children's Advocacy Centers
OJJDP-Sponsored. 2016. This report details the role of Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) and the Outcome Measurement System (OMS) that help CACs evaluate their programs to increase the quality of services provided to children and families and improve the collaborative efforts of multidisciplinary team members. 12 pages. NCJ 250688.
PDF

National Children's Alliance Annual Report 2018
OJJDP-Sponsored, April 2019. National Children's Alliance is the national association and accrediting body for a network of 881 Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs). NCA administered nearly $10.4 million in grant funds in 2018. The grants supported mental health services, services to youth with problematic sexual behaviors, expanding the number of CACs in the country to reach underserved populations, expanding and improving the services that CACs provide, and more. NCJ 252842. 28 pages.
PDF

Other Resources

National Children's Alliance
Provides training, technical assistance, publications, statutes, links, and networking opportunities to communities seeking to plan, establish, and improve Children's Advocacy Centers.

National Children's Advocacy Center
Provides training, prevention, intervention and treatment services to fight child abuse and neglect and research on NCAC models and other child abuse issues.