Services the Child Advocacy Center provides:
The Child Advocacy Center:
- Is a child friendly place where children & families receive comprehensive services.
- It is a place where children are listened to, respected and are able to tell their experience once.
- Assists and nurtures the Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) process by developing and coordinating on going professional education for the members of our team.
- Is open at no charge to all residents of Cumberland County, including Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.
- Is available to investigators for interviews 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Brings together representatives from Cumberland County Department of Social Service’s Child Protective Services; Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office; Fayetteville Police Department; Hope Mills Police Department; Spring Lake Police Department; the medical community via Southern Regional Area Health Education Center, Cape Fear Valley Health Systems and Womack Army Medical Center; Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office; Guardian ad Litem; and Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County.
- Hosts a weekly case review session where approximately 10 cases are reviewed.
- Provides Child Abuse Awareness & Prevention information for the community.
- Provides Continuing Education opportunities for our MDT members and other professionals in our community. These training opportunities are usually provided at no cost to the attendees.
The following is a scenario of what occurs in a child sexual abuse case. (The names used in this scenario are fictional.)
Billy mentioned to a classmate that his Uncle made him uncomfortable and he didn’t want to be around him anymore. His teacher overheard his conversation and asked Billy about what he had said. The teacher had previously attended two prevention workshops conducted by the Child Advocacy Center, Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Darkness to Light –Stewards of Children, so she felt comfortable asking Billy about what she had overheard. Based on Billy’s response the teacher notified the school social worker who called the Department of Social Services Child Protective Services (CPS).
The CPS worker filed a report with the Fayetteville Police Department and sent a report to the Child Advocacy Center. The CPS worker and the police officer went to Billy’s house to get some basic information and to ensure that Billy was safe and that the Uncle was not living in the home. They informed Billy’s Mom that they were going to schedule an interview for Billy at the Child Advocacy Center and gave her the informational pamphlet that the Child Advocacy Center produced.
On the day of the interview Billy and his mom, Sue, went to the Child Advocacy Center (CAC). They were nervous because Billy would be talking about something that happened to him. The Victim/Family Advocate (VFA), employed by the Child Advocacy Center, met the family at the door and introduced herself. After talking with the VFA, Billy began to feel more comfortable. When he went into the family waiting room/playroom, he began to relax. The room was very friendly and colorful. The VFA spoke with Sue while Billy played and explained what was going to happen that day and who would be meeting with her and speaking with Billy. While the VFA spoke with Billy and his Mom, the CPS worker, the Law Enforcement Officer and the Forensic Interviewer, employed by the Child Advocacy Center, met and discussed the case briefly at the Child Advocacy Center.
Following their discussion the Forensic Interviewer from the Child Advocacy Center came into the family waiting room to talk briefly with Billy’s Mom to get some background developmental information about Billy. After briefly speaking with Billy’s Mom, she walked Billy to the Forensic Interview Room. Along the way Billy noticed the colorful murals on the walls of different animals. When they entered the room, the interviewer asked Billy if he noticed anything about this room that may be a little different than he is used to. Billy pointed to the camera. The interviewer told Billy that the camera allows the detective and CPS worker, who he met earlier, to be able to watch and hear the interview.
Knowing that it will be hard for Billy to talk about what has happened, the interviewer asked Billy to tell her about his family, school, and friends. When Billy talked about his family, he mentioned his Uncle Joe and how Billy is uncomfortable being around Uncle Joe. The interviewer asked Billy to tell her about it. Billy described how Uncle Joe had begun showing him cool ways to play basketball, but eventually, Uncle Joe began touching him and doing things that made him uncomfortable. While Billy was in the interview, the VFA spoke with Sue. The VFA made sure that the family’s basic needs were being met and discussed Sue’s concerns and fears. The VFA explained what the Child Advocacy Center’s Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) is, how it works to coordinate investigations of child abuse and how it functions. Sue was able to ask any question she had at the time and was given contact information for the VFA so she could get further services as needed.
When the interview ended the Forensic Interviewer thanked Billy for coming to the CAC and speaking with her. Billy then went back to the playroom. After the interview, it was determined that a medical exam was needed for Billy. The VFA provided Sue with a brochure explaining the medical process and gave her directions to the doctor’s office where Billy would be examined by a Pediatrician that specializes in child abuse.
Later, the MDT met at the Child Advocacy Center to review their notes on Billy’s case. It was determined that there was sufficient evidence that Uncle Joe had sexually abused Billy. The MDT recommended therapy for Billy and Sue to help them deal with this trauma. The detective arrested Uncle Joe.
The VFA continued contact with the family until the case was taken to trial. Uncle Joe was sentenced to prison for abusing Billy.