Services to alleged child victims of physical and sexual abuse and severe maltreatment were very different in 2000 than what is available today.
After attending a national conference on severe child maltreatment, several members of child abuse investigation and prosecution became aware of the collaborative and comprehensive services that could be available through a CAC (child advocacy center) model. A two year mapping process began, identifying the gaps in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse in Casper. That report identified several areas needing improvement. For example, generally dual investigations were taking place between child protective services and law enforcement investigators for the same case. The dual investigations often left both agencies unaware of the case as a whole. The results of dual investigations would mean that a child would be interviewed several times by more than one investigator; interviews were not recorded and did not follow a protocol minimizing leading and biased questions. In turn, prosecutors were left with a disjointed case and no recorded interview for jurors to watch to make an educated decision. The report also identified the need for specially trained medical personnel to provide forensic child sexual assault exams.
2002 brought about a more integrated response to child maltreatment allegations
In January 2002, the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming, Inc. hired a project manager to carry out tasks necessary to coordinate the actions of all the professionals involved in responding to allegations of the most severe types of child maltreatment, sexual abuse and severe physical abuse, kidnapping and witness to crime. Partner agencies for the start-up project, included: Dept. of Family Services, Sheriff’s Office, Casper Police Dept., Evansville Police Dept., District Attorney’s Office and the Community Health Center.
With the generous support of the Wyoming Medical Center, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and other local funders, CAP moved from an idea into a reality by the end of 2002. Rich Fairservis constructed a beautiful facility designed specifically for the project and recently, with the help of one cent funds, the building was purchased by Natrona County.
In 2006 the CAP Board of Directors was formed
The Children’s Advocacy Project (CAP) operated as a program of the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming (CHCCW) through June 2006. At that time, the once active Advisory Committee became a full functioning Board, including members of partner agencies (Sheriff’s Office, Casper Police Dept., District Atty Office, Dept. of Family Services) and vested members of the community. The original agencies involved in the inception of the program are still active partners and supporters today. In fact many originating members are still active in roles as Board Members.
In 2007 CAP receives the National Children's Alliance Accreditation
In 2007, CAP became the first and only child advocacy center in Wyoming to receive the prestigious National Children’s Alliance Accreditation, proving that CAP is dedicated to providing high quality services to investigators throughout the state. CAP continues to maintain this accreditation status. CAP remains a private, non-profit entity funded through a variety of federal, state, county and city funding along with private foundations and United Way support. With the support and generosity of funders, CAP has completed over 3,646 Interviews and more than 700 counseling sessions per year at no cost to families.