A major source of trauma to children who have been allegedly abused or witness to violence is the investigation process. They are questioned several times by a multitude of strangers and relive their traumatic experience every time they have to share their story with a new person. Our center exists to bring together the investigative and intervention team so the child only has to share their story one time.
Team Approach (MDT)
At the Child Advocacy of Lapeer County, we work with a multidisciplinary (MDT) framework following the Best Practice Standard of its accrediting body, the National Children’s Alliance (NCA). Our MDT consists of professionals from different fields who come together to ensure the most effective, coordinated response is obtained for every child and family. Members of the MDT include law enforcement, child protective services (CPS), Lapeer County Prosecutors Office and medical professionals.
Our forensic interviewers follow researched-based methods throughout the forensic interview in order to provide a non-threatening environment for the child. Forensic interviews are child-centered and non-leading. The goal of a forensic interview is to retrieve accurate, unbiased information that will be helpful in the investigation. The importance of forensic interviews at the CAC are to reduce the trauma to the child by reducing the amounts of times the child is interviewed.
After a disclosure or concern of sexual abuse, it is often helpful for a child to see a health professional. At the Center we have an on-site, specially-trained pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner (pedi-SANE) to perform forensically sound medical examinations.
Medical services are provided (free) in our child-friendly examination room, fully-equipped and designed with children in mind. The medical exam is not painful or invasive.
Our center also serves as the umbrella agency for the “ The Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Coalition with SANE-SART Services of Lapeer County”, which provides emergency scheduled forensic medical evaluations for adult victims of sexual assault.
Immediately after the interview, the parents meet with the interviewer, law enforcement, CPS, and an on-staff counselor. The parents are given an idea of how the interview went and what law enforcement and CPS’ next steps are. A counselor then follows up with the family to provide resources, offer support, and answer any further questions they have. If a child or family member appears to be at risk for suicide or self-harm, a counselor will meet with them to assess the level of risk and take the necessary steps to make sure they are safe when leaving here.