The South Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center is a safe place for kids who may have been abused to tell their story. We bring together a team of specially trained professionals who evaluate and investigate cases of child abuse and help children and their families through this hard time.
By bringing together all the professionals under one roof we avoid re-traumatizing children who are already suffering from pain, fear, and confusion.
What happens when you arrive at the Children’s Advocacy Center?
The Children’s Advocacy Center is a place for the child victim to feel safe and supported. Upon arrival you will be welcomed into a child-friendly waiting room filled with books and toys. A separate interview room is designed to make children feel comfortable.
What happens during the interview?
The Forensic Interview is the heart of our work. The child victim will speak with an interviewer who has special training in the many dynamics of child abuse. The goal is to make each child as comfortable as possible while gathering information in a neutral, objective way.
The interview is one-on-one; however, law enforcement and representatives from Child Services may watch the interview via closed circuit television. Interviews are videotaped in an effort to reduce the number of times the child has to talk about the abuse.
It is important to recognize that at the Children’s Advocacy Center the child victim is being interviewed, not interrogated. The child is the victim and is not in trouble.
What happens after the interview?
The Children’s Advocacy Center provides crisis intervention, support services, and case management for children and their families. We offer an on-site medical clinic staffed by professionals who are specially trained to treat victims of sexual assault. Professional counseling is available to children and non-offending family members that can help you and your child get through this difficult time.
What to tell a child about visiting the Children’s Advocacy Center?
A child may be nervous or worried about what will take place during their visit. It is okay to tell the child they will be going to someplace special where they can talk openly about their feelings. It is okay to tell the child that the people at the Children’s Advocacy Center are there to listen to them and that they want to make sure that the child is safe.
Our Team Approach
A multi-disciplinary team (MDT) is the key to the Children’s Advocacy Center. Professionals from a variety of agencies – child protection workers, law enforcement officers, mental health providers, advocates, and prosecutors – join forces to ensure child victims are receiving the essential services, referrals, as well as tracking the progress of the criminal case.
We believe no single agency has the necessary skills, knowledge, or resources to provide the assistance needed by abused children and their families.