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What is a CAC?

A Children’s Advocacy Center is a child-focused, facility-based program where representatives from many disciplines meet to discuss and make decisions about investigation, treatment, intervention, and prosecution of child abuse cases.  They also work together to prevent further victimization of children.

The multidisciplinary team approach brings together under one umbrella all the professionals and agencies needed to offer comprehensive services:  law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy.

CACs are community-based programs designed by professionals and volunteers to meet the unique needs of its community.

Communities that have developed a CAC experience many benefits, including a reduction in the number of child victim interviews and increased successful prosecution.  Studies also indicate that communities with a CAC versus communities using the traditional CPS-Law Enforcement response to child abuse saves $1,318 per child abuse case, according to National Children’s Advocacy Center researchers in Huntsville, AL.  The study also found that traditional investigations cost 45% more than CAC investigations.

The comprehensive approach, with follow-up services provided by the CAC, ensures that children receive child-focused services in a child-friendly environment — one in which the Child’s needs come first.

Multidisciplinary Team (MDT)

Multidisciplinary Teams (MDT) are the foundation of the Child Advocacy Center’s response to allegations of child abuse. An MDT is a group of professionals from distinct disciplines that collaborate from the point of a report of abuse, throughout a child and family’s involvement with the CAC.

 

MDT members include: Prosecutors, Law Enforcement Detectives, DCYF Investigators, Forensic Interviewers, Victim Advocates, Medical Professionals, and Mental Health Therapists.

 

The MDT’s purpose is to reduce the number of times a child has to speak about their abuse, and to help families access safety and services.

The Multi-Disciplinary Team Investigation includes an interview which provides a child the space and time to talk about what happened – in their own words. Team members observe and listen to the interview. Members of the team then work together to create an action plan for support and services based on the needs of the child and family.  Our MDTs are dedicated to safety and healing for every child and family.

The Case Specific Multi-Disciplinary Team Includes:

english chart detailing list of types of professionals involved with the cac
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english chart detailing list of types of professionals involved with the cac

Child & Family

Our Mission:
Through a multidisciplinary team (MDT) coordination of investigation, prosecution, and therapeutic response, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Yakima County strives to reduce the emotional trauma of child victims and witnesses.

MDT Coordinator

Facilitates a coordinated approach in the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases by utilizing a multidisciplinary team of professionals involved in child protective services, law enforcement, prosecution, victim advocacy, medical and mental health services.

Law Enforcement

Responds to reports of child abuse, investigates the allegations in conjunction with DCYF, and makes arrests when appropriate.

DCYF

Responds to reports of child abuse, investigates the allegations in conjunction with law enforcement, and works to ensure children are safe.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Reviews cases with members of Multidisciplinary Team to guide the child abuse investigations, determines whether prosecution in criminal court is appropriate, and prepares cases for trial.

Victim/Witness Advocate

Provides Children and their families/caregivers with support and education about the investigation and criminal justice process, and linkage to community resources.

Mental Health Consultant

Provides evidence-based and trauma focused mental health treatment to children who have experienced abuse or other traumatizing events.

Medical Provider

Provides non-invasive physical exams for children with allegations or concerns of sexual or physical abuse.

Forensic Interviewer

Interviews children who may have experienced abuse, following Washington State Child Interview Guidelines based on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) investigative interview protocol.

Core Components of a CAC
  • Separate, child-friendly facilities for interviewing using a forensic interviewing model and providing services to child victims and the non-offending family members
  • Core disciplines:
    • law enforcement
    • child protective services
    • prosecution
    • mental health
    • medical
    • victim advocacy
  • Coordinated multidisciplinary investigation team
  • Regular interdisciplinary case review
  • Intensive case follow-up

Specially trained professionals

The comprehensive approach, with follow-up services provided by the CAC, ensures that children receive child-focused services in a child-friendly environment — one in which the Child’s needs come first.

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Coloca el cursor sobre un título para obtener más información sobre ese rol.

Aplicación de la Ley

Aplicación de la Ley

Responde a los informes de abuso infantil, investiga las acusaciones junto con el Departamento de Niños, Jóvenes y Familias y realiza arrestos cuando corresponde. 1 of 9
DCYF

Departamento de Niños

Responde a los informes de abuso infantil, investiga las acusaciones junto con las fuerzas del orden público y trabaja para garantizar que los niños estén seguros. 2 of 9
Fiscal Adjunto

Fiscal Adjunto

Revisa los casos con miembros del equipo multidisciplinario para guiar las investigaciones de abuso infantil, determina si el enjuiciamiento en un tribunal penal es apropiado y prepara los casos para el juicio. 3 of 9
Defensor de Víctimas/Testigos

Defensor de Víctimas / Testigos

Brinda a los niños y sus familias / cuidadores apoyo y educación sobre la investigación y el proceso de justicia penal, y el vínculo con los recursos comunitarios. 4 of 9
Proveedor Médico

Proveedor Médico

Proporciona exámenes físicos, no invasivos para niños con alegaciones o inquietudes de abuso sexual o físico. 5 of 9
Consultor de Salud Mental

Consultor de Salud Mental

Brinda tratamiento de salud mental basado en evidencia y enfocado en el trauma de los niños que han sufrido abuso u otros eventos traumatizantes. 6 of 9
Entrevistador Forense

Forensic Interviewer

Entrevista a los niños que pueden haber sufrido abuso, siguiendo las pautas de entrevista infantil del estado de Washington basadas en el protocolo de entrevista de investigación del Instituto Nacional de Salud Infantil y Desarrollo Humano (NICHD). 7 of 9
Coordinador del MDT

Coordinador del Equipo Multidisciplinario

Facilita un enfoque coordinado en la investigación, el tratamiento y el enjuiciamiento de casos de abuso infantil mediante la utilización de un equipo multidisciplinario de profesionales involucrados en los servicios de protección infantil, aplicación de la ley, procesamiento, defensa de víctimas, servicios médicos y de salud mental. 8 of 9
Niña y Familia

Niña y familia

Nuestra Misión: A través de un equipo multidisciplinario (MDT) que coordina la investigación, el enjuiciamiento y la respuesta terapéutica, el Centro de Defensa de los Niños del Condado de Yakima se esfuerza por reducir el trauma emocional de los niños víctimas y testigos. 9 of 9

Hover over a title to learn more about that role

Law Enforcement

Law Enforcement

Responds to reports of child abuse, investigates the allegations in conjunction with DCYF, and makes arrests when appropriate.

1 of 9
DCYF

DCYF

Responds to reports of child abuse, investigates the allegations in conjunction with law enforcement, and works to ensure children are safe.

2 of 9
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Reviews cases with members of Multidisciplinary Team to guide the child abuse investigations, determines whether prosecution in criminal court is appropriate, and prepares cases for trial.

3 of 9
Victim/Witness Advocate

Victim/Witness Advocate

Provides Children and their families/caregivers with support and education about the investigation and criminal justice process, and linkage to community resources.

4 of 9
Medical Provider

Medical Provider

Provides non-invasive physical exams for children with allegations or concerns of sexual or physical abuse. 5 of 9
Mental Health Consultant

Mental Health Consultant

Provides evidence-based and trauma focused mental health treatment to children who have experienced abuse or other traumatizing events.

6 of 9
Forensic Interviewer

Forensic Interviewer

Interviews children who may have experienced abuse, following Washington State Child Interview Guidelines based on the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) investigative interview protocol.

7 of 9
MDT Coordinator

MDT Coordinator

Facilitates a coordinated approach in the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases by utilizing a multidisciplinary team of professionals involved in child protective services, law enforcement, prosecution, victim advocacy, medical and mental health services. 8 of 9
Child & Famiy

Child & Family

Our Mission: Through a multidisciplinary team (MDT) coordination of investigation, prosecution, and therapeutic response, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Yakima County strives to reduce the emotional trauma of child victims and witnesses. 9 of 9

Report Abuse

Anyone who is concerned for a child can report abuse.
If you suspect a child is in imminent harm call 9-1-1 for an immediate police response.
-Otherwise-
Contact Child Protective Services at 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276).

Questions that will be asked when you call
1. The name, address and age of the child.
2. The name and address of the child’s parent, guardian or other persons having custody of the child.
3. The nature and extent of the abuse or neglect.
4. Any evidence of previous incidences.
5. Any other information which may be helpful in establishing the cause of the child’s abuse or neglect and the identity of the perpetrator.

You do not need to have all of the above information when you call to make a report, but the more accurate information you can provide, the better equipped the offices will be to assess the child’s risk.

What will happen next?
Every case is different. Some cases may trigger an immediate law enforcement response and others will become cases handled by Child Protective Services. In many cases, a report will initiate a coordinated response from the CAC’s team of professionals.