Green County Child Advocacy Center
The Green County Child Advocacy Center is a supportive and safe place for children who may have been abused or have witnessed an act of violence. The center brings together a team of professionals who are specially trained in investigating and evaluating abuse & neglect cases and helping children and their families. To learn more about how Child Advocacy Centers help kids, check out this brief introduction video from the National Children's Alliance.
What is the Green County Child Advocacy Center?
The Green County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is a program of the Children, Youth, and Families Unit. The CAC uses a multidisciplinary response which allows for service providers within our CAC and professionals on our multidisciplinary team to assess for appropriate referral needs, effectively respond to the victims we serve, assist in stabilizing the lives of children and families, and respond to the emotional, psychological and physical needs following victimization. The Child Advocacy Center process begins with a referral for forensic interview services for investigations of crime and child welfare matters for concerns related suspected child sexual abuse, physical abuse, witness to crime. As part of the forensic interview process, the children and family have access to community-based advocacy services and the child has access to follow up mental health trauma focused mental health treatment.
The program is unique as it is the only government service attached CAC in Wisconsin and it is staffed by social workers and a therapist with the Children, Youth, and Families Unit of Green County Human Services. Our program is funded primarily through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) and the Children’s Justice Act (CJA).
CACs facilitate the interagency coordinated response to child maltreatment. Through protocols, MOUs and multidisciplinary team (MDT) coordination, CACs are able to prioritize gathering the necessary information for investigations and prioritize trauma informed service delivery from helping professionals. CACs are able to mitigate potential trauma to children and families, to keep open the lines of communication and maintain transparency and foster trust. Forensic interviewers engage in ongoing training, literature review, and peer review to ensure their interviews are the most trauma informed and evidence based.
Children and families in crisis need assistance in navigating the multiple systems involved in the CAC response and the Green County CAC partners with local advocacy organizations to provide this support. The child and family have access to an advocate who provides services and resources to ensure a consistent support and a network of helping professions to ensure individuals have a sense of restored safety and stability. The Green County CAC has linkage agreements with the Sexual Assault Recovery Program (SARP) and Green Haven Family Advocates, however individuals referred to our CAC have the right to decline advocacy services or work with an advocacy organization they are already established with. Advocacy services are available in both Spanish and English.
Mental Health Treatment
Evidence-based, trauma-focused mental health services are at the core of services for the Green County CAC. Every child that receives interview services at our CAC is offered a trauma focused assessment and follow up services at no cost to the family. The therapist offers services that support the child and family.
Evidence shows parental/family support is often the key to the child’s recovery and ongoing protection. Research shows that childhood abuse is a direct predictor of mental illness and other lifelong health impacts. Trauma informed mental health treatment for children reduces these risks and lessens immediate and long-term harm.
Multidisciplinary Support and Coordination
A CAC facilitates the interagency coordinated response to child maltreatment. Through protocols, MOUs and multidisciplinary team (MDT) coordination, CACs are able to prioritize gathering the necessary information for investigations and prioritize trauma informed service delivery from helping professionals. CACs are able to mitigate potential trauma to children and families, to keep open the lines of communication with families, and maintain transparency and foster trust with all of our partners.
Law enforcement, social workers, prosecution, advocates, mental health professionals, and medical providers are key components to our MDT.
The Green County CAC appreciates the support of our community and the generosity of individuals who want to improve the lives of the children and families we serve. Donation questions can be directed to the CAC Coordinator, or check out the Green County CAC Facebook page for current program needs.