Children's Advocacy Center

Supporting the Most Vulnerable Members of Society

The CAC brings together under one roof all the services needed by a child who has experienced or witnessed abuse. Local law enforcement, prosecutors, child protective services, medical and mental health professionals collaborate to bring offenders to justice without further traumatizing the child. Child advocates and health professionals help the child process the trauma they experienced and begin to heal. This video from the National Children’s Alliance provides more information about how the CAC model works.

Forensic Interview

A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child intended to elicit detailed information about a possible event(s) that the child may have experienced or witnessed. Forensic interviewers have specialized training and ask non-leading, developmentally appropriate questions to obtain the child’s story. The interview is video recorded and the information is used to assist in the investigation of allegations or suspicions of abuse and neglect. Utilizing the CAC prevents the child from experiencing additional trauma through repetitive interviews.

Therapist talking to school aged boy

Medical Exam

The purpose of the medical examination is to help ensure health, safety and well-being of children seen at the CAC. Our providers have pediatric experience and expertise in child abuse and neglect. This specialized training assists them in differentiating medical findings that are indicative of abuse from those which may be explained by other medical conditions or caused by accident. During the exam, children are also assessed for any unmet medical needs and emotional or behavioral problems in which the child may benefit from further evaluation and treatment.

Family Advocacy

When a child discloses abuse or neglect, or witnesses a traumatic event, it is a highly stressful and overwhelming situation for the family. Our advocates play a key role in supporting the child and caregiver(s) throughout the investigation and prosecution of the case. They guide caregivers through the legal process, and offer support and assistance with referrals for resources such as counseling, financial assistance and other community support needed to help them regain control of their lives. Advocates stay involved with families after they leave the CAC to offer ongoing support as needed.

Mental Health

Synergy’s therapists are a valuable resource for children and families seen at the CAC. We recognize that offering crisis counseling as an initial response to the trauma a child and family may be experiencing is critical to helping restore their sense of safety and to starting the healing process. Beyond immediate crisis counseling, we offer proven therapies that help isolate the impact of trauma and reduce the risk of future abuse. Our goal is to limit the effect of abuse so that children and families do not experience long-term adverse social, emotional, behavioral, and developmental outcomes that may impact them throughout their lifetimes.