This is an archive of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP's) electronic newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance. The information in this archived resource may be outdated and links may no longer function. Visit our website at for current information.
March | April 2015

What Works In Child Abuse Response and Prevention: The Children’s Advocacy Center Model

The Children's Advocty Center model
The Children's Advocacy Center model (c) the National Children's Alliance.

Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) help coordinate the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases. Recognizing that child abuse is a multifaceted problem, the centers involve multidisciplinary teams of professionals—child protective and victim advocacy services, medical and mental health agencies, and law enforcement and prosecution—to provide a continuum of services to victims and nonoffending family members.

Research has found the CAC model to be the most effective method for streamlining the child abuse investigation process, and a cost-benefit analysis has found the CAC model reduces the total cost of intervention by 36 percent by eliminating duplication of services.

OJJDP has long recognized the efficacy of the CAC model and provides funding to expand access to CACs. The Office’s funding, through the Victims of Child Abuse Act (VOCA), helps support established regional CACs; improve the quality of services provided to abused children; expand service in underserved geographic areas, including American Indian and Alaska Native communities; and leverage strategic partnerships to expand access to quality training programs.

Training and technical assistance (TTA) is a critical component of VOCA; approximately 35 percent of fiscal year 2014 funding was dedicated to training and technical assistance. The TTA includes broad training and resources for professionals who are involved in the prevention, intervention, and response to child abuse, and TTA for prosecutors and allied professionals to improve their ability to effectively prosecute child abuse cases.

The OJJDP-funded National Children’s Alliance (NCA) serves as the national accrediting and membership body for CACs. OJJDP works, in collaboration with NCA, the National Children’s Advocacy Center, and four regional CACs—in the NortheastSouth, Midwest, and West—to encourage communities to establish local CACs and to provide existing centers with training, technical assistance, and other services.

There are currently 777 member CACs throughout the country—additional centers are undergoing accreditation. In 2014, CACs served nearly 322,000 children and provided more than 1.6 million people with prevention training and information. Children’s Advocacy Centers are operational in 24 foreign countries; another 20 countries are interested in, and working toward, implementing the model.


The Annotated Bibliography of the Empirical and Scholarly Literature Supporting the Ten Standards for Accreditation provides citations and annotations to the relevant and seminal research literature providing the evidence base supporting NCA’s standards for accreditation of CACs in the United States. Access the bibliography on the NCA website.

The Child Abuse Library Online (CALiO™) is one of the largest professional resource collections available today, providing access to published knowledge, educational materials, and resources related to child maltreatment. Access CALiO online.

Watch NCA's Step Up, Step Forward video on the alliance's website.

Read about OJJDP’s Children's Advocacy Centers Funding Opportunity and other funding opportunities on the OJJDP website.