To understand what a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, law enforcement, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble, or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other adult that could hurt the case against the abuser.
When police or child protective services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not re-traumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview.
CACs offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs.
The LCCAC is accredited through the National Children’s Alliance which assures the highest standard of care to the victims we serve and is a member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois. The LCCAC has operated as a nonprofit organization (501) (c) (3) since 1987.
The LCCAC is the only Children’s Advocacy Center in Lake County. We provide services to children ages birth – 18 years, as well as developmentally disabled adults.
The LCCAC is committed to adhering to research-based forensic interview guidelines that create an interview environment that enhances free recall, minimizes interviewer influence and gathers information for the MDT (Multi-Disciplinary Team) so the child will not have to be interviewed multiple times.
The MDT consists of law enforcement, Department of Children and Family Services, Assistant State’s Attorney’s, local on-call medical staff, Lake County Health Department mental health providers, and LCCAC Victim Advocates.