The Children’s Advocacy Center of Brevard is: United to Hear and Serve Abused Children
Brevard County was a leader in the state of Florida with the creation of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Brevard (CACB) in 1996. At that time, the CACB was the third advocacy center in the state to be created in accordance with stringent national standards and became a full member of the National Children’s Alliance at its inception.
The CACB was established as a result of a steering committee formed by child protection professionals and concerned citizens in 1995 led by the Child Protection Team director, and representatives from the Department of Children and Families and the Office of the State Attorney. The multidisciplinary steering committee ultimately decided it was in the best interest of the county’s children to establish a children’s advocacy center on the foundation of the well-respected Child Protection Team in Brevard County. The Child Protection Team at the time already had a fiscal agent in Wuesthoff Health Services and so they became the fiscal agent for the CACB as well. A multi-agency Operations Advisory Board was organized to provide program oversight and direction. In 2011 the association with Wuesthoff was dissolved and the Space Coast Health Foundation became the administrative and fiscal sponsor for the CACB and CPT.
In Brevard County, The Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center also serves as the Director of the Child Protection Team. The services of the Child Protection Team are closely coordinated for the remaining Core Partnership Agencies including the Department of Children and Families’ on site Child Protection Investigation Unit and offsite partners including Law Enforcement and the Office of the State Attorney and all are supported by the CACB programs which include Case Tracking and Clinical Intervention Program.
Children’s Advocacy Centers are endorsed as the “state of the art” intervention model for effective, child focused and sensitive investigation of allegations of child abuse and neglect. The CAC model was first developed in Huntsville, Alabama in 1985. At its core, the model is about teamwork – bringing the agency professionals involved in child abuse investigations together on the front end – and about putting the needs of the child victim first. The CAC model brings the child protection professionals together to work in a collaborative approach to insure the child’s safety and needs are met. At the Children’s Advocacy Center of Brevard, children are provided an opportunity to tell their story of abuse in a safe, family friendly, protective environment as opposed to being taken from agency to agency throughout the law enforcement and child protection systems, and having to endure multiple, sequential interviews. At the Center, children encounter and are nurtured by skilled professionals trained not only in Forensic Interviewing and Medical Assessment but also in child development. Child abuse investigations facilitated through the Children’s Advocacy Center of Brevard result in effective, efficient and child-centered casework practice.