Children’s Advocacy Center in Bartow County Receives National Accreditation

Advocates for Children and its Children’s Advocacy Center has been awarded accreditation by National Children’s Alliance following an extensive application and site review process.

As the accrediting agency for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) across the country, National Children’s Alliance awards various levels of accreditation and membership to centers responding to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first. Accreditation is the highest level of membership with National Children’s Alliance and denotes excellence in service provision.

The local CAC provides a safe, neutral place for children and teens to discuss their abuse with a forensic interviewer. Instead of going to the sheriff’s office or the Department of Family and Children’s Services, children come to the CAC where their interview is recorded, in hopes that the child will not have to repeat it over and over again. Interviews are observed by a Multidisciplinary Team made up of professionals, including law enforcement, medical, and child protective services. Additionally, family advocates provide ongoing support for the entire family. Since opening in 2008, the Advocates for Children’s CAC has provided direct services to more than 1,100 children.

National Children’s Alliance awards Accredited Membership based on a CAC’s compliance with 10 national standards of accreditation to ensure effective, efficient and consistent delivery of services to child abuse victims. National Children’s Alliance updated these standards in 2010 to reflect the most recent evidence-based practices in the field of child abuse intervention and prevention. According to these standards, Accredited Members must utilize a functioning and effective Multidisciplinary Team approach to work collaboratively in child abuse investigation, prosecution, and treatment. National Children’s Alliance also considers standards regarding a center’s cultural competency and diversity, forensic interviews, victim support and advocacy, medical evaluation, therapeutic intervention and child focused setting.

“This accreditation not only validates our organization’s proven effective approach to responding to allegations of child abuse, but also provides consistency across the child advocacy center movement as a whole,” said Advocates’ CAC Program Director Amanda Tant. “With the coordination of our Multidisciplinary Team, we are the front-line responders in this community to reports of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse. That allows us to focus our efforts at the CAC on reducing trauma so that children and families may begin the healing process.”

“Advocates for Children is to be commended for its excellent work serving victims of child abuse.  As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, our goal is to ensure that every victim of child abuse has access to high quality services that result from professional collaboration,” remarked Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance.

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