OJJDP News @ a Glance banner

   Children's Advocacy Centers Offer Support and Services
    to Abused Children

November/December 2005
In This Issue
Protecting Children in Cyberspace: ICAC
Children's Advocacy Centers
Support for Grassroots Efforts
Youth Gangs Videoconference
Conference on Disproportionate Minority Contact
New Publications
New Videoconference Tapes and DVDs

Funding Update

Coordinating Council

Advisory Committee

OJJDP Staff News

OJJDP's Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) program is one of the Office's many initiatives to address the problems of victimized children. Designed to meet the unique needs of a community, CACs are facility-based programs that help coordinate the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases. Recognizing that child abuse is a multifaceted problem, CACs involve multidisciplinary teams of professionals—from child protective and victim advocacy services, medical and mental heath agencies, and law enforcement and prosecution—to provide a continuum of services to victims and nonoffending family members. Working together, these professionals gain a more complete understanding of each case and are able to identify the most effective response.

One of the primary goals of the CAC program is to ensure that child abuse victims are not further traumatized by the intervention systems designed to protect them. By developing a comprehensive and appropriate response to child abuse, CACs are able to minimize the trauma to children who, in addition to dealing with the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of their abuse, may need to serve as a witness in a criminal prosecution or perhaps be placed in an alternate home setting.

In response to the Victims of Child Abuse Act, OJJDP first awarded grants in 1995 to establish four Regional CACs for a 5-year project period. In September 2005, OJJDP again awarded 5-year grants for four Regional CACs that will provide training, technical assistance, and other services to local CACs in the midwestern, northeastern, southern, and western areas of the United States. The goals of the Regional CACs include the following:

  • Increase the number of facility-based, multidisciplinary teams and CACs for purposes of providing coordinated, nontraumatizing services to victims of child abuse and neglect and their families.

  • Provide assistance to developing and existing multidisciplinary teams and local CACs in advancing on the continuum towards accredited membership with the National Children's Alliance (see sidebar below).

  • Provide training and technical assistance to allied professionals within the targeted regions.
To learn more about CAC, including funding, resources, and contacts, visit the CAC program summary on OJJDP's Web site. For more information about the four Regional CACs, visit www.nca-online.org/rcac/index.html.

National Children's Alliance

The National Children's Alliance (NCA) was founded in 1987 by Congressman Bud Cramer, then District Attorney of Madison County, AL, in response to the needs of a growing number of facility-based child abuse intervention programs and the demand for guidance from grassroots organizations working with child victims. Today, NCA is a nonprofit membership organization providing services to Children's Advocacy Centers, multidisciplinary teams, and professionals across the country. To learn more about NCA, visit its Web site at www.nca-online.org.

States Served by the Regional CACs

The Midwest Regional CAC, headquartered in St. Paul, MN, serves Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The Northeast Regional CAC, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The Southern Regional CAC, headquartered in Huntsville, AL, serves Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Western Regional CAC, headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, serves Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.