NATIONAL CHILDREN'S ALLIANCE
Empowering local communities to serve child victims of abuse.
Child and Family Friendly Facilities
Children's advocacy centers are child-focused, facility-based programs. Although some aspects of a multidisciplinary approach to child abuse can exist without a neutral facility, a designated facility is fundamental to a children's advocacy center. The location is generally separate from any agency involved in the intervention process It is designed to create a sense of safety and security for the children.
Children's advocacy centers emphasize the coordination of investigation and intervention services by bringing together professionals and agencies as a multidisciplinary team to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases. This coordinated approach was not always the case. In the past, there was no mechanism for coordinating these services. In 1985, a quiet revolution took place with the establishment of the first children’s advocacy center in Huntsville, Alabama. Now, instead of the child victim navigating a difficult and confusing system of multiple, repetitive interviews, the system could be brought to the child.
Children’s advocacy centers are modeled on the simple but powerful concept of coordination between community agencies and professionals involved in the intervention system. Today, there are more than 750 children’s advocacy centers nationwide, and more on the way.
Designed to meet the unique needs of the particular community in which it is located, no two centers are exactly alike, but all adhere to national standards for accreditation set by National Children's Alliance.
Services provided by children's advocacy centers generally include the following: