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The CAC Model
A child advocacy center (CAC) is an essential piece of the multidisciplinary response to child abuse and neglect. The CAC is part of the multidisciplinary team, and provides a safe, child-focused location for forensic interviews to take place. It also coordinates the response with the entire team, and helps ensure efforts are not duplicative or retraumatizing for a child or their caregivers.
The multidisciplinary team (MDT) is comprised of agencies involved in the response to an allegation of child abuse. These agencies all play an important part in investigating an allegation thoroughly and helping a child and their caregivers to start the healing process. Our MDTs are made up of professionals from law enforcement, the Department of Human Services, medical and mental health facilities, the CAC, and district attorney offices. Different MDTs might include other professionals as needed to respond appropriately in their communities.
The MDT and CAC approach is essential for providing wraparound services to a child and their family, without making a child tell their story countless times to different agencies at various stages of the process. Because the CAC directly coordinates the response, a forensic interview is provided to investigating partners, and information is shared in a timely, organized manner, so the child usually only has to have one interview. This helps prevent retraumatization of a child and family, and they can both begin moving past a terrible time in their lives.
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