If you suspect child neglect or abuse
SPEAK UP! 24 Hour Help Line -
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
In case of emergency Dial 911.
What is a Children’s Advocacy Center?
Children’s advocacy centers (CACs) are community based, child focused and child-friendly facilities where representatives from many disciplines meet to discuss and make decisions about investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse cases. The primary goal of all CACs is to ensure that children are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them.
Key components of child advocacy center include:
- Child-appropriate/child-friendly facilities both physically and psychologically safe for clients
- A designated legal entity responsible for program and fiscal operations
- Culturally competent and diverse policies, practices and procedures
- A multidisciplinary team for response to child abuse allegations with members from law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental health, medical, victim advocacy and children’s advocacy center
- Forensic interviews conducted in a neutral, fact-finding environment and coordinated to avoid duplicative interviewing
- Medical evaluation at the center or through coordination and referral with other providers
- Victim support/advocacy coordinating with other providers throughout investigation and legal proceedings
- Case review to provide team-discussion and information sharing throughout the case
- Case tracking to monitor case progress and case outcomes
Child and Family Friendly Facilities
Children’s Advocacy centers 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.
Multidisciplinary Team Response
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. These “MDTs” generally consist of representatives from:
- Children’s Advocacy Center
- Dept. of Human Services / Child Protective Services
- Prosecutor’s Office
- Therapists and Advocates
- Law Enforcement
- Victim Advocates
- Forensic Interviewers
- Medical Providers, Trained in Performing CAC Evaluations