CAC is the leading resource when it comes to child abuse. From the Forensic Interview to the last therapy session, CAC works with our clients to ensure they are building resiliency in order to live a healthy life. We also offer prevention programs to help all community members know the signs and who to contact in the event of an abuse allegation or disclosure.
Forensic & Advocacy Services
CAC's Forensic & Advocacy Support Team assists local Law Enforcement and Child Protective Services investigators by conducting Forensic Interviews for children making an outcry of abuse. The goal of a forensic interview is to elicit detailed facts from children in a neutral, child friendly, age appropriate manner.
Our team coordinates the forensic interview to ensure all necessary Multidisciplinary Team Members (MDT - Law Enforcement, State's Attorney, DCFS) can observe the interview as it is being conducted, allowing for a collaborative team approach to taking a child’s statement and protecting the integrity of the information gathered. The forensic interview is a critical part of not only the initial investigation but also the criminal prosecution at trial. CAC Forensic Interviewers are often called upon to provide both fact and expert witness testimony to aid in successful prosecution of offenders.
Our Family Advocates are another important piece of the MDT puzzle. They are committed to helping each family navigate the complex systems they enter when a child makes an outcry of abuse. The Family Advocates are there to help the families understand the process, learn about their rights, and successfully access resources that will help their family during the crisis.
Family Support Services
CAC provides a safe place for children and their families to begin the healing process after experiencing child abuse. Our Family Support Services Team is comprised of master’s-level therapists who provide evidence-based, trauma-informed therapy. We know that therapy is not a luxury, and so our services are offered free of charge.
Our therapists receive on-going training to ensure they are familiar with the newest therapy techniques and practices. Because children and adolescents respond in many different ways to traumatic events, it is important that our therapists are prepared to provide the best therapy that research and science have to offer.
Individual and group therapy is offered for both children and their non-offending family members. Therapy services are offered in English and Spanish. Specialized therapy services available include:
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Parent Support Group
Safe from the Start
CAC's Safe from the Start (SFTS) program is unlike any other in the area. We work with families who have experienced abuse to help each member on their path toward healing in a safe, therapeutic setting. What's truly unique about the program is that our therapy is offered to children birth - 5 years-old who have witnessed domestic abuse. These services are free of charge and offered in English and Spanish.
Our Master's-level therapists work with each other and each member of the family to develop appropriate and effective treatment plans that address and work through past traumas, which helps our clients build resilience and break the cycle of abuse. Some techniques they utilize are Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Play Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Mindfulness.
While "healing" looks different for every family, our goal is to ensure each family walks out of their therapy knowing what happened to them is not their fault, that they feel safe in their world, and that they are able to function better in their daily lives.
SFTS is staffed by five Master's-level therapists, all of whom have participated in the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) 40-hour training program.
Part of CAC's mission is to prevent abuse against children. Education and training are two of the best defenses against child abuse. Recently, thanks to a generous five-year donation from the McKenzie Foundation, CAC was able to hire a Prevention Specialist on a contract-basis. Our Prevention Specialist goes out into our community to deliver high-quality trainings to educate children, parents and educators about child abuse: signs to watch out for, who to contact if a child discloses abuse, proper names for the body parts, etc.
If you would like more information on child abuse prevention training, please email Assistant Director Carrie Estrada