A primary goal of the Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers and all Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) in Ohio is to ensure that children disclosing abuse are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them. CACs are child-focused, facility-based programs with representatives from many disciplines working together to effectively investigate, prosecute, and treat child abuse. CAC locations are not only child-focused, but designed to create a sense of safety and security for child victims.

A question to ask is “What happens to a child victim in our community once he or she discloses?”  For more information about Children’s Advocacy Centers or to request help with CAC development, please contact the ONCAC Chapter Director.

CAC Development

The following is a checklist that has been developed by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA), which summarizes the tasks that need to be completed in establishing a Children’s Advocacy Center.  While the activities are listed in approximate order, some will need to take place concurrently and there will be variations in each community.

  • Convene a working committee or task force of key individuals
  • Select leadership
  • Conduct a needs assessment of the extent of the problem in the community
  • Develop vision and mission statements
  • Determine CAC service population
  • Gather information on various CAC models
  • Select the CAC approach that best suits the community
  • Develop Interagency agreement and obtain agency commitment
  • Determine organizational structure
  • Determine which services will be offered on-site or through referrals
  • Select site and design or acquire space for child-appropriate facility
  • Determine staffing needs and agency roles
  • Multidisciplinary team protocol development
  • Research potential sources of support
  • Plan and implement resource development
  • Development of governance Board or advisory structure
  • Develop policies and procedures for security and safe-guards (internal financial controls, liability insurance, conflict of interest policies, etc.)
  • Volunteer recruitment, screening and training development
  • Training for program staff and community
  • Consider providing child abuse prevention programming
  • Develop program evaluation and accountability plan
  • Cultivate leadership and funding resources on an ongoing basis