A community partnership is required to protect, heal and care for abused children. Child abuse can be a scary topic. When the abuse affects your family or someone you care for, the fear and anxiety experienced can be overwhelming. The Children’s House/Child Advocacy Center is here to provide immediate assistance to help child abuse victims and their families or loved ones through this difficult time.
We provide a safe, child-friendly facility with a home-like atmosphere where children and their families can go to report abuse and begin their recovery. Our Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team (MDIT) will assist families each step of the way, from the early stages of an investigation through medical assistance and healing. Services to the child and family may include:
- Forensic Interview – Children are interviewed by a trained forensic interviewer while team members of the MDIT observe the forensic interview through closed-circuit television. Forensic interviews are recorded and a copy is provided to the referring agency(ies) and the District Attorney’s Office. The responsibility of the Forensic Interviewer is one of maintaining his or her objectivity as a neutral fact finder about a child’s experience.
- Advocacy Services – An advocate is on-site to provide information and support to children and families who often have a host of concerns and needs during the legal process. The advocate will provide crisis intervention, education about the investigation and criminal justice process, ongoing support and help to connect families with resources.
- Forensic Medical Services – A specialized medical exam is conducted at the Center by Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Referrals are made for follow-up medical treatment if needed.
- Mental Health and Referral Services – Crisis intervention and suicide screening is done on site. A new service added in late 2016 for victims and their families is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). TF-CBT is an evidenced-based mental health service, provided on-site at no cost to families.
- Community Outreach – Events throughout the year are designed to raise both awareness and education on the issue of child abuse in our community. In addition, CAC staff provide businesses, agencies and companies free in-service presentations and training on child abuse and related issues.
The CAC model reduces the number of interviews a child victim may experience, thereby reducing the trauma to the child. It also provides for consistency in the information being provided to the involved parties and provides a forum for discussion and decision-making in a multi-disciplinary approach. It is the goal that the multi-disciplinary approach along with the child-friendly facilities will help to increase criminal prosecutions as well as improving the outcomes for child victims of abuse.
The Children’s House accepts referrals from law enforcement agencies and the Department of Social Services in Bradford, Sullivan and surrounding Counties. Information and referral services are provided to any child and family as needed. For questions or additional information, call us at 570-265-4132. If you are in immediate danger or suspect a child is being abused or neglected, dial 9-1-1 or contact your local law enforcement.