Child Advocacy Centers


Child Advocacy Centers

Children Advocacy Centers (CACs) are the fastest growing community-based model for coordinating multidisciplinary investigations and modernizing and facilitating services for child abuse victims. The first CAC was founded in 1985 and today there are over 600 CACs, with at least one in every state in the U.S.  Although the development and leadership of these agencies is community-based, a national membership organization, the National Children’s Alliance (NCA), oversees an accreditation process where member agencies are required to demonstrate that they meet a number of key service standards.


Given the growing influence of CACs on child abuse investigation practices, there have been increasing calls for evaluation of the efficacy of the model and its components.  A recent Multi-Site Evaluation of Children’s Advocacy Centers project found a number of successes for CACs: 

However, the results also highlight areas in need of more attention by CACs:

Cross, T.P., Jones, L.M., Walsh, W.A., Simone, M., Kolko, D.J., Szczepanski, J., Lippert, T., Davison, K., Cryns, A., Sosnowski, P., Shadoin, A., and Magnuson, S. (2008) Evaluating children's advocacy centers' response to child sexual abuse. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 1-12. (CV136)