We serve children and their non-offending caregivers, when there are allegations of child abuse or that a child has witnessed violence.
During the first appointment, we provide child forensic interviews and medical exams, on-site, to assist our partnering community agencies in their investigations of the potential abuse. The child and their non-offending caregiver will be assigned a family advocate to guide them through the process, including in-house therapy, possible court, and any other needs.
Our staff is available to children until their 21st birthday for whatever support they may need following initial services with us.
A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child intended to gather detailed information in the child’s words about a possible event(s) the child may have experienced or witnessed.
A forensic interview is conducted between one child and a certified forensic interview specialist informed in child development. This interview is audio- and video-recorded in an effort to ensure the child need only tell their story once to reduce recurrence of trauma.
Medical evaluations at The Terrie Hess Child Advocacy Center are conducted by health care providers with pediatric and child abuse expertise. These evaluations consist of general exams to ensure the child is in good health and has suffered no significant injury as a result of their alleged abuse.
Whether a medical exam is conducted will be determined based on the individual child’s medical needs. We do not have 24-hour/7 day- a-week coverage for medical evaluations. Rather, child victims of abuse who need immediate medical attention should be taken to the nearest emergency facility or you should call 911.
Our family advocates play a key role in helping to support the child victim and the non-offending caregiver(s) throughout the investigation and prosecution of the case. The family advocate will listen to and support the family and seek information and resources on their behalf.
Family advocates work directly with the child and their non-offending caregiver(s) until the child is 21 years old. They ensure that all of their needs are met, whether related to the alleged abuse or otherwise and make referrals to necessary services.
The Terrie Hess CAC offers a comprehensive in-house therapy program that many children are referred to. We can also assist with referrals for community therapists if desired.
The counselors are trained to provide trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), which is designed to meet the unique needs of children and their non-offending family members. In clinical trails, TF-CBT has been shown to reduce traumatized children’s emotional and behavioral concerns. The TF-CBT guides children through processing their experiences.
For more information on TF CBT, please go to www.nctsn.org