WHAT IS THE CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER?
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Highlands Community Services leverages the efforts of law enforcement, prosecutors, medical and mental health providers, social workers, and others to provide a seamless, comprehensive system of support for child victims of sexual and physical abuse, and neglect.
The CAC provides forensic interviewing and recording in a child-friendly place, as well as recorded interview distribution to law enforcement, child protective services and prosecutors.
The CAC conducts specialized trauma assessments by referral.
Specialized Treatment & Counseling
The CAC offers specialized counseling designed to meet the needs of child victims of abuse, their siblings and non-offending caregivers.
The CAC provides court preparation and education for children and families.
By being able to come [to the CAC] to have their interview and to go through the process, it alleviates the child from having to go through that and be re-traumatized over and over again by having to retell the story. – Charlene Ohlinger | Child Protective Services Investigator for Bristol, VA
WHY DO WE NEED A CAC?
- Bristol, VA has the 5th highest rate of child abuse in Virginia.
- Almost 250 cases of abuse or neglect were opened at the CAC last year.
- In the US, 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 in 5 children between the ages of 13-18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness.
Sources: The Children’s Advocacy Center, Darkness into Light, National Alliance on Mental Health
OUR HISTORY & MISSION
The CAC (Bristol) is located in Washington County, just outside of the Bristol, VA city limits. It sits adjacent to the Sugar Hollow Park Recreation area and is housed in a 150-year-old restored Victorian-era home that provides approximately 5,000 square feet of office and program space, situated on 4.5 acres of open space, which includes a private playground, gazebo and other outdoor therapeutic spaces. In 2019, a second satellite CAC location opened in Smyth County, VA.
Our mission is to guide and support child victims of neglect, sexual and severe physical abuse and their families by coordinating investigative intervention, treatment, and prosecutorial services. We strive to be the resource facilitator for best practice in the field of child abuse investigations, treatment and prosecution.
Since 2014 the CAC has been proud to provide a facility dog to support children. A facility dog is a professionally trained assistance dog and graduate of a highly specialized training program. The CAC’s facility dog attends Forensic Interviews, counseling sessions and even goes to court. Alpha, trained and certified by KSDS Assistance Dogs, Inc., is the current Facility Dog on staff. He is a black Labrador.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The CAC is a non-profit organization. Your financial support is needed and appreciated. You can also champion the cause by reporting suspected child abuse in your community and educating others around you.
Children’s Advocacy Center of HCS – Bristol
21451 Sugar Hollow Road
Bristol, VA 24202
Children’s Advocacy Center of HCS – Smyth Co.
1070 Terrace Drive
Maron, VA 24354