January 20, 2015
The Children’s Advocacy Alliance (CAA) is in the initial planning phase to consider purchasing, building, or renovating a newer, larger facility here in Conway to assist with our expanding programs and services. Our program has grown from operating with a $70,000 budget in 2001 to needing over $545,000 to currently meet the needs of abused and/or neglected children in our community.
Our Board of Directors and staff are now reviewing the opportunities with regard to the financing of this endeavor. The board is considering a comprehensive campaign to develop the necessary funding for our project.
As its first step in this process, CAA has secured the services of Hueston Consulting Group, LLC (a Arkansas-based consulting firm) to conduct a confidential feasibility study on its behalf. We request your participation in this study by taking a few minutes to complete the survey by clicking on this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CAA_Study
Dr. Fred Hueston, CFRE, our campaign consultant, will compile the responses, keeping your individual survey in confidence, and report the findings back to us in April.
Your ideas and suggestions are valuable to us. Thank you for your participation in this study. Your input will help us compile the information we need in order to make informed, accurate decisions about how best to proceed with this important project here in our great community!
Hueston Consulting Group of Conway, Arkansas, a philanthropic consulting firm, will assist us in this feasibility study. Your evaluations and judgments will advance this process. We seek your input so we make the best decisions possible to ensure the long-term sustainability of our program which benefits the entire community.
CAA treasures your advice and counsel. Hueston Consulting Group will keep your responses confidential. Thank you for your anticipated participation in our research, as we believe your partnership with us will address a long-term solution to the physical space limitations we currently face.
Tess Fletcher, Executive Director
Imagine being a 12 year old girl. Now imagine that someone you know and love has been raping you for the last 7 years. Someone who is supposed to protect you is forcing you to do things that no child should have to do. You can’t tell because you were told the cops would take you away from your mom and siblings. At school, your teacher notices you are going to the bathroom a lot and takes you aside after school to talk to you. You can’t take it anymore and break down and tell her what has been happening. The teacher calls the hotline and your entire life changes.
An investigator with the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children division is assigned to investigate the allegations. They schedule an interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center where you are greeted by a Family Advocate who helps explain the process to your mom. You are interviewed by a Forensic Interviewer who is specially trained to interview child victims. You have a medical exam the same day as your interview, in the same child friendly location. Your Family Advocates makes sure you have access to mental health services. You have a team of people working together to make sure you are safe and are able to start healing from the trauma you’ve experienced for the last 7 years.
The story could end there, but let’s imagine that your mom chooses to believe the alleged offender and decides she will not keep you from seeing him. DHS determines that your mom won’t keep you safe and takes you and your siblings into custody. There isn’t a home that can take all of you together, so you have to be separated from your siblings. After a probable cause hearing in dependency/neglect court, you are assigned a court appointed special advocate (CASA). Your CASA meets with you regularly to ensure your needs are being met and help determine what is in your best interest. They report to the Judge at each court hearing. They ensure you are able to visit regularly with your siblings. Your mom is given a year to remedy the cause of removal and she is ordered to attend therapy and parenting classes. Your advocate meets with your mom to encourage her to follow court orders. At close to one year, you are able to return home and are reunited with your mom and your siblings.
Stories like this should not happen but the reality is that they happen every day in our community. In 2014 alone, 265 children were interviewed at the advocacy center due to allegations of physical or sexual abuse. The CASA program was assigned to over 150 children. Sadly, those are not all of the children that needed our help.
Originally founded in 2000 as Court Appointed Special Advocates of the 20th Judicial District (CASA 20th), the Children’s Advocacy Alliance oversees two programs that serve abused and neglected children in a five county service area. The Central Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) coordinates investigative and treatment efforts involving law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, medical and mental health services. These services are coordinated through a community-based facility to protect children from further trauma and to provide them with a foundation for healing from their abuse. The Central Arkansas CAC serves Faulkner, Van Buren, Searcy, Conway and Pope Counties.
The CASA 20th program recruits and trains community volunteers to stand up for abused and neglected children, represent their best interests in court, and help them find safe, permanent homes. The CASA 20th program serves Faulkner, Van Buren and Searcy Counties.
Need for Change:
The agency currently occupies two suites of a multi-office building in downtown Conway. The suites are not side by side and staff is separated, as are services and supplies. The agency needs a larger facility with confidential space for children and families undergoing the process of care.
The Children’s Advocacy Alliance envisions a 15,000 sq. ft. facility centrally located in Conway, AR that will have the capacity to fully serve every child that needs our services. The facility would house a services building for the advocacy center with enough extra rooms to alleviate confidentiality concerns, an administration building that brings all staff and partner agencies together, as well as a conference/training area that will be able to seat 200 people. Currently, we have to have all trainings, group meetings and other functions at different facilities around town, depending upon their room availability.
PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY FOR OUR FEASIBILITY STUDY: