Start a Children's Advocacy Center

The National Children's Alliance defines a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) as a child-focused, facility-based program in which representatives from core disciplines—law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy—collaborate to investigate child abuse reports, conduct forensic interviews, determine and provide evidence-based interventions, and assess cases for prosecution

Are you interested in serving the children of your local community through a Children’s Advocacy Center? The following steps are based on the strategic checklist created by the National Children’s Alliance as a guideline for establishing a new advocacy center. It’s worth noting that the process often varies based on the unique restrictions and challenges of each community. Furthermore, some steps may occur simultaneously, as the center nears completion.

  • Establish a committee or task force of key individuals.
  • Select leadership
  • Conduct a needs assessment to determine the extent of the local problem
  • Develop vision and mission statements
  • Determine service population for the CAC
  • Research various CAC models and select the one that works best for the center in question (Idaho CACs currently use the NICHD model)

  • Obtain commitments from other agencies and develop an inter-agency policy
  • Create organizational structure
  • Determine which services will be offered on site and through referrals
  • Select future site
  • Establish organizational roles and estimate staffing needs
  • Develop multidisciplinary team protocols
  • Research funding and revenue options

For additional information and support, contact Tamara Pittz, Chapter Director of the Idaho Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. ( 208-318-2294.

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