Philosophy, Mission, and Guiding Principles of the CAC
The Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault Child Advocacy Center (CAC) coordinates the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child sexual and serious physical abuse cases. The agency adheres to a “Child First” doctrine, which holds that the needs of the child are paramount. The CAC is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA). The agency’s services are based on the NCA’s standards of service which require the following core components:
- Child Appropriate/Child Friendly Facility
- Representation of a Multidisciplinary Team
- Organizational Capacity for Program and Fiscal Operations
- Cultural Competency and Diversity
- Coordinated and Competent Forensic Interviews
- Available Specialized Medical Evaluations
- Available Specialized Mental Health Services
- Initial and Ongoing Victim Support/Advocacy
- Routine Case Reviews
- Case Tracking System
Mission Statement: To safeguard the well-being of endangered children through a collaborative effort involving DSS, all law enforcement agencies, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office to lessen the trauma to the child and expedite the criminal justice process in an efficient manner to ensure a successful investigation and conviction of the perpetrator.
Goals of the CAC:
- To provide a community based setting for the skilled and objective evaluation of children identified as possible victims of child sexual and serious physical abuse.
- To provide an opportunity for agencies and professionals mandated to intervene in suspected child sexual and serious physical abuse cases to collaborate.
- To minimize the possibility of redundant interviewing by facilitating interagency cooperation.
- To provide appropriate crisis intervention and referral for children as needed.
- To serve the community by supporting varied education, training, treatment, research and prevention efforts addressing child sexual and serious physical abuse.
- To provide a child friendly location to interview child witnesses of violent crime.
Basic to our philosophy is to provide a comprehensive, culturally competent, multidisciplinary team response to allegations of child abuse in a dedicated, child-friendly setting.
Services are focused on providing a child sensitive environment where each child feels safe and supported and are based on the following guiding principles:
- All children are treated with respect and dignity. No one will be discriminated against with regard to race, religion, creed, nationality, age, gender or sexual orientation.
- CAC staff shall develop the skills and the sensitivity to deliver services congruent with the values and diversity of each client receiving services.
- Child abuse is a community problem. When possible, the CAC will participate in programs designed to educate the community about the nature of child sexual and serious physical abuse.
- No one agency holds the key to stamp out child abuse. It is through a coordinated approach with both private and public agencies and community involvement that we will be most effective.