THE CAC MODEL
A Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is a “child-friendly facility in which law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy professionals work together to investigate [sexual] abuse, help children heal from [sexual] abuse, and hold offenders accountable” (National Children’s Alliance, 2016).
Specialized child-friendly forensic interviews of children
Coordination of investigations for child protective workers, prosecutors, and law enforcement
Referrals to mental health services, legal aid, victim advocacy, and service organizations as needed
Specialized medical services through the Spurwink Child Abuse Program
CACs follow a national model. There are over 800 functioning in the United States and more across the world. A functioning or emerging CAC exists in every public health district in Maine.
The CAC of York County adheres to the principles of:
Child and Family-centered service: the needs and safety of the families we see are of paramount importance. Our Family Advocate works with each family from intake to one month after we see them, ensuring services are in place to meet any needs. Caregivers are included in the CAC process and meet with investigators before and after their child is interviewed.
Trauma-informed care: we aim to provide one single recorded interview for a child victim, reducing the amount of retelling and reliving. Forensic interviews are evidence-based and trauma-informed. We are also linked with mental health agencies who provide Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to our clients.
A Multidisciplinary Team approach: We believe that agencies and providers working in partnership provide the best service to children and families. Law enforcement, child protective services, the District Attorney’s office, mental health agencies, medical providers, and advocacy services come together at the CAC, each providing a vital expert lens.