Help, Hope & Healing
The Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center brings help, hope and healing to children and families in the aftermath of an allegation of sexual abuse, physical abuse or witness to a violent crime. For some, the path to healing is clear. For others, the obstacles may seem insurmountable. Regardless of their trauma, their level of need, or their ability to pay, the TBCAC is here to help.
The CAC Model
Before the TBCAC existed, children in the Grand Traverse Region had to tell the worst story of their life over and over again to doctors, police officers, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. Because the professionals did not collaborate, case information was lost and children fell through the cracks. This not only hurt the case, but it forced the children to relive their trauma each time.
Today, children and teens are interviewed in a safe, non-threatening environment and their statements are digitally recorded. Youth tell their experiences one time to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that is not re-traumatizing. Law enforcement officers, prosecution, and child protective services workers observe the interview through closed circuit television and make decisions together about how best to help. Details of the case are preserved and children are protected from misinformed questioning.
This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs. By coordinating the investigation and combining the available evidence on the child’s case, the MDT helps build a complete picture of the abuse. This helps prosecutors build stronger cases against abusers, helps courts to determine just outcomes to protect all children from the abuser, and helps child protective services determine the best interests of the child.