A child advocacy center (CAC) is responsible for providing direct intervention services to sexually and severely abused children in its community. Children are referred to the CAC by the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
CACs offer assistance to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, the District Attorney’s office, and law enforcement agencies, using expertise in the areas of interviewing, counseling, case tracking and testimony on behalf of the child. Centers also offer support to non-offending family members.
Each center is a neutral, home-like setting, where child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect can receive a wide-range of services:
- Forensic interviews
- Extended forensic evaluations
- Joint team interviews by DHR and law enforcement Multi-disciplinary case review teams that include social, legal and healthcare providers
- Case tracking and management
- Medical and mental health referrals
- Court Preparation for Children
Training to recognize signs of child abuse, community and peer education are available from centers in your community. Some centers may offer some or all of the following services:
- School prevention programs
- Home visitation programs
- Parenting classes
- Parent support groups
- Child support groups
- Divorce education
- At-risk school counseling
- Individual child counseling
- Training for multi-disciplinary teams
- Mental health referral
- Child death review teams
- Crime victims compensation assistance
- Community education/awareness
- Non-offending caregiver’s support group
Services often vary from center to center, based on available funding and the expertise of the employees.
What does the state office do?
The state office is primarily responsible for providing accreditation support and assistance to the 29 centers within Alabama. The state office also provides statewide education to the legislature, schools, courts, organizations, and the public on child abuse and neglect issues.