The Tennessee Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers (TNCAC) is a statewide membership organization 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 first.
TNCAC accomplishes this by providing training, support, technical assistance and leadership on a statewide level to local child advocacy centers and communities throughout Tennessee responding to reports of child abuse and neglect.
TNCAC strongly believes that the combined professional wisdom and skill of the multidisciplinary team approach results in a more complete understanding of case issues and the most effective child and family focused system response possible.
What is a Child Advocacy Center?
A children’s advocacy center (CAC) is a child-focused, facility-based program in which representatives from many disciplines, including law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical, victim advocacy and child advocacy, work together to conduct interviews and make team decisions about investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases.
Tennessee’s Child Advocacy Centers
- Each county in Tennessee is required by law to have a Child Protective Investigative Team (CPIT). The CPIT team meets, at a minimum, on a monthly basis to review each severe child abuse case. Most large urban communities meet more often than monthly. CACs play an active role in supporting the CPIT team and ensuring that each child has access to the services they need. To read more about T.C.A 37-1-607 click here.
- Offer child-friendly, child-focused environments aimed at reducing further trauma to children during the investigation of child abuse allegations.
- Coordinate a multidisciplinary team for response to child abuse allegations including law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental health, medical, victim advocacy and children’s advocacy center.
- Offer forensic interviews. Forensic interviews are neutral, non-biased and aimed at eliciting facts from children in a developmentally appropriate manner.
- Coordinate medical exams. When necessary, child advocacy centers will ensure that children receive appropriate medical attention. Some CACs in Tennessee offer onsite medical exams by specially trained physicians while others will refer clients to local medical providers.
- Offer victim support and advocacy to clients throughout the investigation and legal proceedings.
- Conduct case tracking to monitor case progress.
- Offer mental health services for victims and their families. Many child advocacy centers in Tennessee offer in-house counseling by specially trained therapists which include individual therapy, group therapy and non-offending parent support groups. Centers that do not provide in-house counseling will coordinate services and refer clients to local mental health providers.