Why Does Our Community Need a Child Advocacy Center?
Charlottesville and Albemarle County are not immune from family violence and child abuse. Foothills Child Advocacy Center is designed to meet the unique needs of our community. Child abuse is a multifaceted issue, and no single agency or individual has the necessary knowledge, skills or resources to serve all the needs of victimized children and their families. Foothills brings together wisdom and knowledge from professionals of different disciplines, which results in a better understanding of case issues and an effective child-focused response. Some of the benefits of Foothills Child Advocacy Center include:
- Child maltreatment victims are less traumatized by the system when agencies cooperatively work together and when professionals come to a Children’s Advocacy Center instead of the child traveling to different offices and being interview multiple times by multiple individuals.
- When a trained professional conducts a forensic interview with the child in a non-leading, legally-sound, developmentally appropriate manner, the information that is gathered is more reliable, resulting in better informed decisions about protection, prosecution and treatment.
- Forensic interviews are audio and video recorded, resulting in less duplication of the forensic interview with the child.
- Children and non-offending family members receive immediate crisis intervention and referrals for services.
- Intervention in child maltreatment cases involves various organizations that investigate, protect, treat, and prosecute, and when regularly brought together to gather and examine information, case investigations are more effective and prosecutions are more likely.
- Team members are accountable to each other, making sure there is follow-through by team members in regard to support services, information, medical and mental health services.
- There is routine assessment of the system and ideas for improvement.
- There is a $1,318 cost savings per case when the CAC model is used in responding to child abuse cases versus the traditional Law Enforcement/Child Protective Services investigation approach, as researched and documented by a study entitled “Cost-Benefit Analysis of Community Responses to Child Maltreatment: A Comparison of Communities With and Without Child Advocacy Centers” performed by the National Children’s Advocacy Center and the University of Alabama in 2006.
- Foothills Child Advocacy Center provides awareness and outreach for the community about child abuse, which enhances prevention of child abuse.
- Consistent case tracking enhances knowledge about child abuse in our community.