More Than 4000 Children Helped Over Past twenty years!
BREWSTER, NY, September 23, 2019— This month the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of Putnam County marks its twenty-year anniversary of serving children and their families—providing a child-friendly setting where a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) works together to handle child abuse allegations. Since opening in September 1999, the CAC has garnered approximately $4.6 million in grants enabling more than 4000 children and their families to benefit from CAC services and referrals.
Fully accredited by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA), the purpose of the CAC is to reduce additional trauma to young victims by coordinating joint interviews to reduce the number of times a child needs to be questioned and by conducting the interviews and medical examinations in a non-threatening, child-friendly site. Victim advocates assist the family through the process and make referrals to appropriate community resources. Other MDT members include a child protective service worker, prosecutor, law enforcement investigator, medical provider, and mental health provider.
Growing from one part-time program coordinator managing a few dozen cases annually, the CAC has seen a substantial increase in demand for its services. Today the Center’s eight employees, both full and part-time staffers, work round-the-clock serving approximately 300 children and their families each year. “We have made great strides here in Putnam County towards protecting children, providing better support services, and more effectively prosecuting the offenders,” said Marla Behler, Program Coordinator for the CAC. Originally the agency focused primarily on child sexual and physical abuse. Over the years, team members expanded their services to include the overlapping conditions of domestic violence, recognizing the impact such incidents have on children. A Child Fatality Review Team was later formed along with the initiation of a Computer Forensic Program and upgrades of technology to institute a data base tracking system. Additional elements of the CAC involve a diverse array of crime prevention and education programs,
A press conference and open house to celebrate the anniversary are scheduled for Wednesday, October 23, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Center, located at 121 Main Street in Brewster.
For further information about the anniversary celebration or CAC programs, please call the CAC at 845-808-1400.