The Will County Children's Advocacy Center and our MDT partners are the front-line responders to reports of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, sexual exploitation, child pornography, neglect, and exposure to violence of children, ages 3-17, in Will County, Illinois.
In 1995, Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow, established the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center in order to improve the integrity of all investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse, while providing hope, healing and justice for the children and their families.
Prior to opening the Will County CAC, children who suffered sexual abuse were required to make multiple statements to numerous parties, including law enforcement, child welfare workers and medical professionals, thereby increasing their trauma and enabling predators to exploit minor differences in their various statements.
In Illinois, Children’s Advocacy Centers are defined and supported by state statute 55 ILCS 80 - Children’s Advocacy Center Act.
- "The General Assembly finds that the creation of accredited Children's Advocacy Centers ("CACs") accredited throughout the State of Illinois is essential to providing a formal, comprehensive, integrated, and multidisciplinary response to the investigation and disposition of reports of child maltreatment ..."
- "The General Assembly further finds that the most precious resource in the State of Illinois is our children. The protection of children from physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, and neglect, hereinafter "child maltreatment", is at the core of the duties and fundamental responsibilities of the General Assembly and provides the highest compelling interest to create and maintain a system to effectively respond to reports of child maltreatment and protect children from harm."» Read More
A Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is a child-focused, inter-agency coordinated response center, in which representatives from law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy — collaborate to investigate child abuse reports, conduct forensic interviews, determine and provide evidence-based interventions, and assess cases for prosecution.
To understand what a CAC is, you must understand what children face without one.
- Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life. over and over again, to doctors, police, attorneys, therapists, investigators, judges, and others.
- They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble, or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other adult that could hurt the case against the abuser.
When police or child protective services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult.
At a CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained forensic interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not not re-traumatize the child. Then, a multidisciplinary team that includes law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services (DCFS), victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview.
CACs offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs.
Help us continue to provide hope, healing & justice for abused children.
Annually, the Will County Children's Advocacy Center serves more than 700 Will County children (and their non-offending family members) who have endured sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, sexual exploitation, child pornography, neglect, and exposure to violence.
Children who have been victimized, and receive services are less likely to: abuse drugs or alcohol, grow up to become victims of domestic violence, become involved in some sort of criminal activity, suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or develop suicidal ideation and self-harm.
Your financial gift can make a profound difference in changing a child’s life.