The Child Advocacy Center offers a safe, neutral, child-friendly environment for children who are suspected victims of child abuse to be interviewed. A staff member greets at the Child Advocacy Center greets children and their families. A team of investigators including the Department of Human Resources and Law Enforcement attend the interviews. The child is taken into a private, quiet room by a professional forensic interviewer, where the child is interviewed. This room is equipped with cameras so that other team investigators may view the interview through a closed circuit television from another office. This eliminates repetitive interviews for the child, thus reducing the amount of trauma for the child. All interviews are video taped for the purpose of prosecution.
The Child Advocacy Center has a licensed child therapist on site for follow-up treatment after the interview takes place. The therapist will provide counseling services for the child victim as long as necessary.
This service is provided for the Department of Human Resources as well as the District Attorney’s office. This is an extended forensic interview taking place once a week from six to ten weeks. A licensed child therapist who has completed the forensic interview training curriculum conducts the extended forensic interview. It is a structured program that has been nationally recognized.
Support is offered to the non-offending caregivers in indicated child abuse cases. The family advocate serves as a liaison for the family and all involved investigating agencies. The family advocate also provides assistance in helping the family to utilize community resources. This program is limited to the non-offending caregivers who are supportive of the child victim.
Once a month, the Child Advocacy Center Case Review Team meets at the Child Advocacy Center to discuss the status of all ongoing child abuse cases. Members include: CAC case manager, CAC family advocate, CAC child therapist, investigators from the Department of Human Resources, a supervisor from the Department of Human Resources, the District Attorney, local law enforcement officers, and a medical examiner, when necessary,
Stop Child Abuse and Neglect Program, originally written by the National Child Advocacy Center in Huntsville, AL, was brought to Marshall County in 2017 and funded by the United Way of Marshall County. The Marshall County Child Advocacy Center works with all primary, elementary, middle and high schools in Marshall County to teach children what child abuse and neglect are and how they can report it. SCAN uses puppets to educate Kindergarten and 1st graders and teaches three safety rules to follow to get help. Third and fifth grades focus on how bullying and child abuse are related and where to turn to get help. Seventh and ninth graders are told the dangers of internet predators as well as resources they can turn to in the face of abuse.