National Children’s Alliance Representatives Call on Congress to Restore Federal Funding

Unified voice in support of Children’s Advocacy Centers and the Victims of Child Abuse Act

National Children’s Alliance
Washington, D.C.

This week, hundreds of representatives from Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) around the country descended upon Capitol Hill with one unified message for Members of Congress: “Restore funding for Children’s Advocacy Centers and the Victims of Child Abuse Act.” These individuals, each representing communities across the country, came together during the 2013 National Children’s Alliance Annual Leadership Conference, where professional development and resource sharing occurred along with coordinated advocacy efforts.

CACs are child-focused centers that coordinate the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse by bringing together professionals and agencies as a multidisciplinary team to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases. There are now over 750 CACs nationwide.

During the Conference, National Children’s Alliance presented Senator Max Baucus of Montana, Representative David Camp of Michigan, and Congressman Lloyd Doggett of Texas with the Bud Cramer Award for their ongoing commitment to fighting child abuse. Congressman Doggett said, “It is an honor to be recognized by the National Children’s Alliance, such a dedicated group of advocates who deserve much more recognition than they receive for the work they do in our communities. I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that child advocacy centers across the country have the federal support they need to protect the youngest in our society from abuse.”

“Child Advocacy Centers provide proven, cost-effective services for thousands of children all over the country who suffer through the horrors of abuse,” said Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance, which provides CAC’s with the training, support and technical assistance to respond appropriately and effectively to allegations of child abuse or neglect. “Our multidisciplinary approach not only shows the greatest potential for effective prosecution of child abuse cases, but CACs also save money – as much $1,000 per case. Federal investment in these services is essential to keep these programs alive, and we will continue to fight for full federal funding so our doors may always remain open to those who need us the most.”

Kim Abernethy, President and CEO of ChildSafe, a CAC based in San Antonio said of this week’s member fly in,  “Child Advocacy Centers are the first line of defense in protecting child abuse victims. CACs coordinated efforts and investigations helped nearly 280,000 children last year alone. It is critical that we continue to received federal funding to operate our centers and help the children who need it.”

Child abuse costs the American people $124 billion per year.  CACs save money by making coordinated investigations more efficient and more effective. In fact, a cost-benefit analysis showed that traditional investigations cost 36% more than CAC-collaborative investigations. CACs also share the goal of stopping abuse before it even starts. Nationwide, and in just the last year, CACs provided child sexual abuse prevention education to more than 500,000 individuals – adults and children.

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National Children’s Alliance is the national association and accrediting body for the over 750 children’s advocacy centers serving each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first, National Children’s Alliance provides support and advocacy to its accredited membership, as well as numerous developing centers, multidisciplinary teams and child abuse professionals around the country, and the world. As the national authority on multidisciplinary approaches to supporting child victims of abuse, the purpose of National Children’s Alliance is to empower local communities to provide comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse. Founded in 1998, National Children’s Alliance provides accreditation opportunities, financial assistance, training, technical assistance, research and education to communities, child abuse professionals and children’s advocacy centers throughout the United States in support of child abuse intervention, advocacy and prevention.