The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) provides a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach to handling child abuse allegations. The purpose is to ensure the well-being and safety of the child, while reducing any additional trauma. Services provided to the child and family include:
Victim advocacy—Victim advocates work with the family and assist them through the entire process of dealing with child abuse, from pre-disclosure through aftermath. They provide support as the child and family navigate the legal system and facilitate access to other appropriate community services, as needed.
Mental health services—Children and non-offending family members who have experienced abuse can benefit from a variety of available mental health services, including art therapy, group therapy and support, as well as individual therapy.
Medical services—If necessary, medical examinations by a specially trained forensic pediatrician and/or nurse are performed in the child-friendly environment of the CAC.
Investigation and Prosecution—Interviews are coordinated and conducted jointly by team members that include a Child Protective Services worker, Law Enforcement Investigator and a Prosecutor, eliminating the need for repeated interviews. The child-friendly environment provides a more comfortable setting that helps ease the difficult process of disclosure.
Other CAC services and activities include:
Child Fatality Review Team— Approved by NYS Office of Child and Family Services, the Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT) reviews all deaths of children residing inPutnamCounty. The goal is to promote thorough investigations by a multidisciplinary team and study systemic problems related to the fatalities in order to identify preventable circumstances.
Computer Forensics—This program provides thorough analysis of computer hardware used in crimes against children.
Training and education—The CAC offers theNew York State Mandated Reporter Training: Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse and Maltreatment/Neglect, as well as other professional and community training programs.
Community education and outreach—The CAC conducts public awareness campaigns and organizes the Annual Children’s Expo & Safety Fair every spring, bringing together hundreds of children and their families in a fun-filled atmosphere to learn about safety issues.