To understand what a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is, you
must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC,
the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life
over and over again, to doctors, police, lawyers, therapists,
investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that
traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might
be in trouble, or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-
meaning adult that could hurt the case against the
When police or child protective services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other safe adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not retraumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs. CACs offer referrals to therapy, medical exams, courtroom preparation, victim advocacy and other needed services.
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