Children’s Advocacy Center
The Central Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is a safe place for kids who may have been abused to tell their story. We bring together a team of specially trained professionals who evaluate and investigate cases of child abuse and help children and their families through this hard time.
The Forensic Interview is the heart of our work. The child victim will speak with an interviewer who has special training in the many dynamics of child abuse. The goal is to make each child as comfortable as possible while gathering information in a neutral, objective way. Interviews are videotaped in an effort to reduce the number of times the child has to talk about the abuse. It is important to recognize that at the Children’s Advocacy Center the child victim is being interviewed, not interrogated. The child is the victim and is not in trouble.
Clinical Coordination – After the interview all child victims and their non-offending family members receive a clinical coordinator/family advocate who provides crisis intervention, support services, and case management.
Medical Exam – An on-site medical exam room staffed with trained staff offers child sexual assault victims a medical exam that collects evidence and document trauma, if present. Most importantly, it is performed to reassure the child and family that his/her body is okay.
What to tell a child about visiting the Children’s Advocacy Center?
A child may be nervous or worried about what will take place during their visit. It is okay to tell the child they will be going to someplace special where they can talk openly about their feelings. It is okay to tell the child that the people at the Children’s Advocacy Center are there to listen to them and that they want to make sure that the child is safe.
Our Team Approach
A multi-disciplinary team (MDT) is the key to the Children’s Advocacy Center. Professionals from a variety of agencies – child protection workers, law enforcement officers, mental health providers, advocates, and prosecutors – join forces to ensure child victims are receiving the essential services, referrals, as well as tracking the progress of the criminal case.