What is a Children’s Advocacy Center?A children’s Advocacy Center is a place where children can come tell their story. It provides a child focused environment to gently support the child victim, their non-offending caregivers, and family members.
How will the SLV CAC Program benefit my child and my family?The Children's Advocacy Center of the San Luis Valley (SLV CAC) is a child focused, facility based program in which representatives from many disciplines including law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy work together.
Our primary goal is to ensure that the children we serve are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them.
When a child victim visits the SLV CAC they are given the opportunity to tell their story to a neutral individual who has been trained in a semi-structured protocol that is non-leading and allows the child to tell their story in their own words. The interviews are recorded to reduce the number of times the child victim is interviewed. The non-offending caregiver and family members are offered crisis intervention, support, and access to services. Once the case has been referred to the CAC, it can be reviewed by the Multi-disciplinary Team, in an effort to meet the best interest of the child while still providing each agency involved with the information they need to proceed with the next steps in the case. Most importantly, the CAC helps the child victim and their family start the healing process.
What kind of services are provided by the SLV CAC Program?The SLV CAC Program serves children (ages 0- 17) who have been victims of sexual assault or severe abuse/neglect, and their non-offending parents or caregivers. The services are meant to be child friendly and offer the family and child a trauma free alternative to be interviewed and/or physically examined when there are concerns about possible abuse. We serve all six counties in the San Luis Valley.
Forensic InterviewingFor victim/s, witnesses, or developmentally delayed adults:
- The Center has four neutral, trained forensic interviewers who can interview a child in a non-threatening and trauma-free manner.
- They use a semi-structured protocol to ensure the child is interviewed only once. However, there will be some cases that a child might be interviewed more than once. This will only happen, if the MDT agrees that it is needed.
- Only the child and the interviewer are in the room, while other team members observe the interview in another room.
- All interviews are free and available in English and Spanish.
Onsite Sexual Assault Nurse’s Exam (SANE)
- The SLV CAC can assist in referring the child for a SANE Exam if recommended by law enforcement or DSS/DHS.
- During the SANE Exam, a colposcope is used to take photographs of any injury that may be found. The colposcope will show the slightest trauma, tears, and/or abrasions found anywhere on the body, including the genital area. A trained SANE nurse or doctor will perform the exam. It is free of charge to the family.
- Remember, if no physical evidence is found, this does not mean that a person wasn’t sexually assaulted.
- For non-offending parents and caregivers
- Referrals to services in our community
- Assistance with Victim’s Compensation
- Court system navigation and support
- Trainings and education to the community regarding child sexual assault and abuse
Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT)
- We work closely with Child Protective Services (CPS), Law Enforcement, SANE Nurses, and the District Attorney’s office.
- We offer trainings and education to the community agencies regarding child sexual assault and abuse.
- Quarterly Regional MDT Meetings
- Monthly Case review meeting