Children's Advocacy Center for McLean, Livingston & Dewitt Counties
About the Children’s Advocacy Centers
The Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) where children are brought when there has been an allegation that a child may have been sexually abused, seriously physically abused, a witness to a crime and/or the victim of human trafficking. In McLean, Livingston and Dewitt Counties, DCFS and law enforcement are required to bring children to our centers when these types of issues arise. A written and agreed upon protocol dictates how the process works. Utilizing a multidisciplinary team approach ensures that the 'child first doctrine' is paramount in each investigation. Children are forensically interviewed in a warm, friendly environment that is focused on reducing trauma to children and their families. The professional disciplines work together on these cases, from beginning to end, providing services to the family throughout the life of the case.
If you have any questions or would like more details, please contact the Children's Advocacy Center at (309) 888-5656.
The CACs have multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) comprised of local and state law enforcement, Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigators, mental health clinicians, trained forensic interviewers, child and family advocates, medical personnel, and prosecutors from each jurisdiction. The MDT meets consistently (weekly or monthly based on jurisdiction) and reviews all open cases. These team members train together and work collaboratively to ensure that the child and family are treated respectfully throughout the process.
Video Recorded Interviews
When a child is brought to the CAC, an advocate meets with the family and a trained forensic interviewer speaks with the child in order to obtain as much information as possible about the alleged abuse or incident. All interviews are audio and video recorded. This prevents the child from having to be interviewed several times by different agencies involved in the case. The interview process also ensures accuracy and continuity in information being disseminated to MDT members. MDT members present at the time of the interview observe via closed circuit. This ensures an opportunity for each discipline to have input during the information-gathering process.
Meeting with Non-Offending Caregivers
The advocate meets with the victim’s non-offending caregivers/family prior to the interview to explain the process, gather information, discuss services available to them, and to answer any questions. These services may include a specialized medical examination, crisis counseling and therapy services for both the child and non-offending caregivers, and referrals to other community-based social service agencies.
Liaison Between Victim & Multidisciplinary Team
The advocate serves as the liaison between the victim and family members and the members of the multidisciplinary team. The advocate attends all court hearings, keeps the family informed regarding the status of the case, assists in ongoing necessary referrals, and assists in court preparation in the event the case proceeds to trial.
JOCH, the CAC Facility Dog
Illinois allows facility dogs to accompany child victims in the courtroom. The comfort these animals bring is unique and profound. Joch, our 2 year old Labrador is available to comfort children at the CAC and to accompany them into court, when appropriate. View Joch's business card (PDF)!