New York State Children's Alliance, Inc.

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Child Advocacy Centers

Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) are child-focused facilities that help abused children heal by coordinating the investigation and treatment of child sexual abuse and providing children and families access to long-term advocacy and healthcare. To better understand what a CAC is, you must understand what children face without one.

Without a CAC, a child may end up having to tell the worst experience of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, police, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may not get the help they need to heal once the investigation is over.  At the CAC,
the child tells what happened to them once to a trained professional.

The primary goal of CACs is to ensure that children disclosing abuse are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them. Together, they work with law enforcement, prosecutors, social services, advocates, medical and mental health professionals and others to provide high-quality, specialized services for abused children and their families. What’s more, they provide many of these services in the comfort and convenience of child-friendly locations and all services are free.


Child Protective Services or law enforcement refers a child to the CAC. The CAC schedules an interview. The CAC starts helping the family.


On the day of the interview, the Family/Victim Advocate meets with the child and their caregiver at the CAC. The caregiver may meet with the team prior to the child’s interview.


While the child is being interviewed, the caregiver meets with the Advocate to talk about anything the family needs – and how to get services and help.


When the interview is done, the caregiver meets with the team to talk about what will happen next.


The CAC continues to follow up with the caregiver and child so that they get the services they talked about during their CAC visit.


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