The Children’s Advocacy Project is one of three accredited advocacy centers in the state of Wyoming. Child advocacy centers (CACs) are modeled on the simple, but powerful concept of coordinating all efforts of agencies and professionals and placing them under one roof.
To better understand advocacy centers, you might want to know what life is like for a child who has experienced abuse without an advocacy center.
Without the Children’s Advocacy Project and advocacy centers like us, a child would have to tell the worst moments of their lives over and over again to doctors, police, lawyers, nurses, therapists, investigators, judges, and more.
The more they tell their traumatic story, the more they relive that trauma over and over again. A well-intentioned teacher or ill-informed adult might ask the wrong questions, making a child think they are in trouble, or that they had done something wrong. Eventually the confusion, shuffling, and stories to multiple people could end up hurting the case against the abuser.
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When the police and/or child protective services thinks a child is being abused, the child is brought to the Children’s Advocacy Project, which is a private and child-friendly facility where the child can tell their story just once.
The child talks to a trained forensic interviewer who knows the age-appropriate questions to ask in a way that does not re-traumatize the child. A team of professionals including law enforcement, prosecution, and child protective services watch the recorded interview and make decisions together about how to move forward in helping the child, the family, and putting together a case against the abuser.
The Children’s Advocacy Project continues to provide services to the child and their non-offending caregivers, offering therapy, medical exams, victim and family advocacy, and more. This multidisciplinary team working together under one roof is the core of the child advocacy center model.