The team at the Children’s Advocacy Center provides a unique and necessary role for our community. Stories of abuse and neglect experienced by children or violent crimes and domestic violence that are witnessed is not easy to journey through with families. Some stories are a one-time unexpected and tragic event, and assisting the victim and family back to hope is a matter of restoring previous healthy functioning in their every-day life. Other stories, however, contain complex situations. Long-term sexual or physical abuse perpetrated on a child has far-reaching and devastating impacts on their development, growth and relationships. These impacts show up over the course of a lifetime and unless relevant, effective treatment and assistance is provided with compassion and empathy by properly-trained professionals, these children are left to carry the heavy burdens trauma has imprinted on their daily functioning.
It is in this arena that the team at the Children’s Advocacy Center shines brightest. Family Advocates walk with the victims and their families through the process and provide resources for hope and restoration. Trained Forensic Interviewers create a safe environment for these children to unburden their devastating stories in order for justice to be realized. Trauma-trained mental health therapists utilize evidence-based treatments to assist the victims to a place of healing and restored healthy functioning. This multidisciplinary team also includes Child Protection Service workers, law enforcement, specially-trained nurses who provide the forensic medical component, and the district attorney’s office. This multi-layered approach offers the victims and their families the chance to experience healing and justice where trauma once resided. Watching these families return to a place of hope is the reason the CAC team enters these difficult stories each day.