||National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse
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||Ending Child Abuse and Neglect After Disclosure
The primary goal of all National Children's Alliance (NCA) children's advocacy centers is to ensure that children disclosing abuse are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them.
Child abuse and neglect are a major problem and a major concern for communities throughout the United States. We all know that the problem exists. The real question becomes What happens to a child victim once he or she discloses?
Often, agency personnel from law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, medical, victim advocacy and mental health services will respond to child abuse cases. Traditionally, each agency or professional has a different role in the investigation and intervention process. Sometimes, their efforts to fulfill these roles will result in multiple interviews of the victim and in re-traumatizing the victim they are seeking to assist.
In the past, there was no mechanism for coordinating these services. In 1985, however, a quiet revolution took place with the establishment of the first children's advocacy center in Huntsville, Alabama. Now, instead of the child victim navigating a difficult and confusing system of multiple, repetitive interviews, the system could be brought to the child. Children's advocacy centers (CACs) are modeled on the simple but powerful concept of coordination between community agencies and professionals involved in the intervention system.
From that first center in Huntsville, a national movement was created. Today, there are nearly 700 children's advocacy centers nationwide, and more on the way. Children's advocacy centers are community-based programs, designed to meet the unique needs of the particular community in which it is located so no two centers are exactly alike, but all adhere to national standards for accreditation.
Child and Family Friendly Facilities
Children's advocacy centers (CACs) are child-focused, facility-based programs. Although some aspects of a multidisciplinary approach to child abuse can exist without a neutral facility, a designated facility is fundamental to a children's advocacy center. The location is generally separate from any agency involved in the intervention process It is designed to create a sense of safety and security for the children.
Children's advocacy centers emphasize the coordination of investigation and intervention services by bringing together professionals and agencies as a multidisciplinary team to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases.
As a general matter, services provided by children's advocacy centers include the following:
National Children's Alliance Chapters
Chapter organizations are member organizations comprised of children's advocacy centers within a given state, similar in structure to NCA. And, like the children's advocacy centers they serve, no two Chapters are alike.
Each is responsive to the unique needs of its individual state, but all share a common purpose:
|To provide support services to local communities and children's advocacy centers; and
To assist with the development, continuation, and enhancement of the child advocacy center model throughout the state or tribal area
Chapter organizations serve as the leading resource within the state for children's advocacy centers and facilitate a network dedicated to a coordinated and comprehensive response to child abuse.
Chapter organizations are eligible to apply for accreditation with NCA.
Regional Children's Advocacy Centers
Working in tandem with NCA are the four Regional Children's Advocacy Centers. The Regional Children's Advocacy Centers were established by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
, and although they are funded separately from both NCA and local child advocacy centers, they serve communities with the same mission, vision and dedication. The RCACs offer a full range of training, technical assistance, consultation and information to established and developing children's advocacy centers.
Each RCAC is located within an accredited children's advocacy program, which keeps them grounded with the day-to-day work of advocacy centers and allows them to more effectively pursue their common objective of helping both established and developing child advocacy centers. The RCACs assist communities in the following areas:
|Assessing a community's capacity to provide services through a Needs Assessment and Feasibility Study
Developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary response to child abuse, with a particular emphasis on using the CAC model
Developing and negotiating interagency agreements, protocols and Memoranda of Understanding
Maintaining open communication and case coordination among community professionals & agencies involved in child protection efforts
Enhancing professional skills among the interdisciplinary partners
Coordinating and providing training to the disciplines represented on the multidisciplinary team
Identifying and developing funding and marketing strategies
Strengthening the organizational capacity of children's advocacy centers and child abuse programs
Assisting with plans for program expansion
Increasing community understanding of child abuse
Clarifying membership standards and criteria
Assisting with applications for membership with NCA and assisting with site visits for accreditation
The four RCACs are as follows:
Serving: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Serving: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Serving: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Serving: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.