Join Us! Start a Local Center
There are numerous concrete steps that a community can take to begin the process of establishing a successful children’s advocacy center (CAC).
First, you must establish a grassroots effort in order to assess local needs. You can accomplish this by bringing various professionals and community leaders together to discuss the community’s response to child abuse. Include agencies such as prosecution, local law enforcement, medical and mental health professionals, crime victim advocates, and community volunteers.
Establish a Working Committee
Your grassroots effort will evolve into a Working Committee made up of key individuals representing the agencies and individuals charged with handling reported cases of child abuse. The call to convene the working group usually comes from someone with the drive and determination to convene such a committee. It may come from a prosecutor, a judge, a doctor, a victim advocate, or an active community volunteer.
Conduct a local needs analysis
You will need to complete a summary of each participating agency’s cases, including the numbers of child interviews and places where these interviews occurred. This information will provide the necessary data to determine the areas of work your Committee will want to consider and may offer valuable insights into the severity of the child abuse problem in your community.
Next, you should collect statistics from the past three years indicating the number of child abuse investigations conducted by the Department of Children and Family Services (DFCS) in your area and local law enforcement agencies. Other statistics should include the number of cases involving crimes against children that have been presented to grand juries, the number of indictments issued vs. the number of cases that were no-billed, and the number of prosecutions involving crimes against children. Lastly, you will need to identify the strengths of your current system, and identify the points in time where the system failed to give due care to the child and family, as well as support the prosecution’s case.
Identify Community Resources
Identify and communicate with individuals, groups, businesses and organizations that have an interest in the well being of children in your community. By contacting the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia as early as possible in developing your community’s CAC, you can benefit from the wealth of collective experience of successful, established CACs throughout Georgia. There is more to this process of starting a successful CAC in your community. Please contact us at (770) 319-6888 for more information.