ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
Child Advocacy Centers of Wyoming is a nonprofit, membership association dedicated to promoting a statewide comprehensive and multidisciplinary team response to allegations of child physical and sexual abuse. There are three child advocacy centers in Wyoming: Children's Advocacy Project in Casper, Hirschfield Center for Children in Jackson, and Safe Harbor in Cheyenne. These centers served 572 child victims in 2011, 541 child victims in 2010, and 400 child victims in 2009. The number of child abuse victims served by child advocacy centers in Wyoming has increased 97% since 2006. Much of that increase originates from the growing demand from the other counties.
Our vision: We envision a time where every child have the availability to tell their story in a safe environment with skilled forensic interviewer and perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.
Our mission: Promoting a comprehensive and multidisciplinary response to allegations of significant child abuse, utilizing a child friendly approach, across Wyoming.
What are child advocacy centers? Children’s advocacy centers are modeled on the simple but powerful concept of coordination between community agencies and professionals involved in the intervention system.Child advocacy centers are child-focused, child-friendly programs that coordinate services to investigate, prosecute, and treat serious cases of physical and sexual child abuse. The centers bring together a multidisciplinary team in their community that includes social workers, law enforcement officers, doctors, prosecutors, mental health professionals and victim advocates. The team work together, sharing information and developing coordinated strategies sensitive to the needs of each child and case.
Why is having a coordinated approach to child abuse important? When responding to child abuse cases, agency personnel from law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, medical, victim advocacy and mental health services will all try to fulfill their role in the investigation and intervention process. Sometimes, their efforts will result in multiple interviews of the victim – and in re-traumatizing the victim they are seeking to assist. Until the creation of child advocacy centers, there was no mechanism for coordinating these services. Now, instead of the child victim navigating a difficult and confusing system of multiple, repetitive interviews, the system could be brought to the child.
- National Children’s Alliance: Child Advocacy Centers of Wyoming is a chapter of the National Children’s Alliance (NCA). NCA is the national association and accrediting body for children’s advocacy centers around the country, dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first. NCA provides accreditation, training, support, technical assistance and leadership on a national level to the over 700 local children’s and child advocacy centers. Visit www.nationalchildrensalliance.org for more information.
- Western Regional Children’s Advocacy Center: The Western Regional Children’s Advocacy Center strengthens existing children’s advocacy centers and helps communities develop centers through training and technical assistance. This nonprofit provides assistance in 13 Western states with close association with the National Children’s Alliance. Visit www.westernregionalcac.org for more information on training opportunities and technical assistance.