Since 2009, the Manistee County Child Advocacy Center has provided a child-centered environment for children and their families who have experienced sexual abuse. Through the work of the Manistee CAC, a team of child abuse professionals – including social workers, law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, medical examiners, and mental health professionals – are brought together to provide a coordinated response that best meets the needs of the child and family.
The essential services provided by the Manistee County Child Advocacy Center include forensic interviews, medical exams, victim advocacy, and non-offending caregiver programs. It also facilitates programs to educate and teach adults skills to prevent, recognize, and respond to child abuse.
Additionally, the Center provides a central location for joint investigations and information sharing between law enforcement and Children and Youth Services. This allows the child to be interviewed one time instead of enduring multiple interviews, thus reducing the trauma for the child victim.
The History BEFORE Children’s Advocacy Centers
Child interviews occurred in public and uncomfortable settings, such as police stations, schools, and hospitals.
The child was asked to repeat their story of the abuse many times. Multiple agencies became part of the investigation, and the information was not shared.
The child’s needs became lost in the investigation.
The Child Advocacy Center Services
Children and families are welcomed into a safe and supportive environment.
Children are interviewed once by a trained professional.
A team of child abuse professionals are brought together to share the information and provide a coordinated response that best meets the needs of the child and family.
Children and families are referred for counseling and other services as needed.