CAC 101

From the National Children’s Alliance (NCA):

CACs are defined by the Children’s Bureau (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) as Level 1 emergency responders.

CACs are how communities mount a coordinated response to allegations of child abuse. To understand what a CAC is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, a child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, police, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may not get the help they need to heal once the investigation is over, either.

When police or child protective services [DHR] believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask. Then, based on the interview, a multidisciplinary team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health providers, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocates, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child. Finally, CACs offer a wide range of services like therapy, medical exams, courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and more.



Downloadable Resources from the National Children’s Alliance: