Who We Are:
The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is a program of the Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee Counties. The CAC program was added as a program of the Crisis Center in 1993 in response to an established effort to enhance the sensitivity and responsiveness of the civil and criminal justice systems responding to allegations of child abuse. The overarching goal of the CAC program is to minimize the impact of trauma, provide vital medical and mental health services for children and their families, and facilitate a coordinated and collaborative approach to the investigation and prosecution of child abuse. The CAC program has 43 partner agencies who are committed to collaboration and coordination. These agencies include: local law enforcement, Child Protective Services, prosecution, medical professionals, mental health professionals and victim advocates.
What We Do:
All services provided by the CAC program are free of charge and include the following:
- Forensic Interviews
- Family Advocacy
- Mental Health Counseling
- Community Education
The CAC conducts child-friendly, non-leading, developmentally appropriate, legally defensible forensic interviews with children between the ages of 2-17 years old who are alleged victims of child abuse or neglect. The forensic interview interview is conducted by a trained, neutral professional utilizing research and practice-informed techniques as part of a larger investigation. The forensic interview is video recorded and monitored by the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT), consisting of law enforcement, Child Protective Services and prosecution staff. The average length of time a forensic interview is typically between 40-60 minutes. Our forensic interviewers are often called upon to provide both fact and witness testimony to facilitate coordination and collaboration in prosecution efforts.
The time from an outcry of abuse until the end of a criminal trial can months or even years. Family Advocates provide necessary support and information to victims and their non-offending family members involved with the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT). Family Advocates offer a continuum of care for clients from the first day they come to the CAC until the end of the resulting criminal trial. Family Advocates provide referral and services for the following:
-Assistance in completing the Crime Victims & Compensation (CVC) paperwork
-Community services referrals
-General information about victims & rights provided throughout the investigative process
-Counseling options for the child and family
Mental Health Services
Therapy at the CAC is provided by full-time, licensed and board certified mental health professionals, as well as supervised, master’s level student interns in the field of psychology. Therapists and student interns alike use evidence-based interventions to ensure clients receive the highest quality of treatment. Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment and proven to be a highly effective intervention for victims of abuse. The majority of abuse victims have symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and TF-CBT treats the symptoms in the context of the trauma specific to our clients—the abuse.
The CAC program teaches children personal safety skills, offers parents and adults tools to protect their children and provides professionals who work with children the education for recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. If you are interested in learning more about how to schedule a CAC professional to provide community education for your staff or group, please send an email to: email@example.com
Volunteer and Internship Opportunities
Volunteers and interns are essential to the vitality of the CAC program. Each child who comes to our facility is beginning the healing process after suffering or witnessing a traumatic event. Volunteers have the opportunity to engage and create positive experiences with the children visiting our Center through play, as well as through special events that help fund the programs our kids need to begin the healing process from abuse.
Recurring Volunteer Activities:
- Direct Service with Children: Greeters and friendly faces help provide a safe and welcoming environment for children as they wait for a forensic interview or therapy session.
- Administrative Support: Volunteers assist staff by completing needed clerical tasks or helping prepare for an upcoming event.
- Occasional & One-Time Events: Opportunities vary as activities are scheduled by staff.
- Coordinate a Drive:
- Invite your friends and family to collect and donate new items to the CAC for us to provide to children and families in need.
- Donate your birthday! Encourage family and friends to make a financial contribution to the CAC program in lieu of birthday gifts.
- Adopt a family in November and donate gifts for Holiday of Hope and the annual Christmas party held in early December.
Who can be a CAC volunteer?
Anyone can volunteer at the CAC upon successful completion of the written application process. The process includes an application, personal references, a pledge of confidentiality, civil and criminal background checks, and an interview. Adults ages 18 and older can work directly with the children. Each volunteer will also complete an orientation with our Volunteer Coordinator, to better understand the expectations of the volunteer roles.
When can volunteers work for CAC?
Aside from special events, the CAC has three shifts available at the Center’s office during the week:
Monday – Thursday: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. / 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
I’m interested in volunteering! Now what?
Download and complete the CAC Volunteer Application. A completed CAC Volunteer Application includes the following: completed application, personal references, a pledge of confidentiality, successful completion of civil and criminal background checks, and a face-to-face interview. Adults ages 18 and older can work directly with the children. Each volunteer will also complete an orientation with our Volunteer Program Coordinator, to better understand the expectations of the volunteer roles.
You can email your completed Volunteer Application to Priscilla Muniz, Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org