In a child abuse case, the perpetrator is usually someone close to the family, or someone who lives in the home. In fact, 90 percent of child abuse victims know, love, and trust their abusers. The abuser may even be a family’s primary breadwinner. Upon their arrest, the entire family is suddenly in crisis. Non-offending family members must have support in order to protect their children and rebuild their lives. The Center’s Family Advocacy and Support Services Department is designed to meet the short and long-term needs of children and their non-offending caregivers. We do this by providing a consistent advocate they can rely on to resolve concerns, provide resources in the community, and support as they proceed through the judicial system.

Family Advocacy Services

  • Advocacy: Family Advocates work collaboratively with the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) and non-offending family members to ensure that the client’s voice is heard.
  • Support: Family Advocates provide emotional support for clients as they proceed through the judicial system.
  • Information: Family Advocates provide clients information regarding the status of their case and aid in connecting them to resources in the community.
  • Assistance with tangible needs: Sometimes, families are in financial crisis and need help with food, clothing, housing, employment, finances, and other aspects of living. Advocates make appropriate referrals and access much-needed resources.

The Family Advocacy and Support Services Department oversees our Rainbow Room, which provides new clothing, essential hygiene items, and safety equipment to children, including those entering foster care and kinship placements. These items are immediately available to children in crisis, and can be accessed by the MDT 24/7. Interns are a critical part of the family advocacy team, allowing the Center to leverage every dollar spent on these essential programs. The Family Advocacy and Support Services Department offers internships each semester, to help educate future social workers and other child welfare professionals. Learn more about our Family Advocacy Internships.

Child Engagement

Child Engagement is a component of Family Advocacy and Support Services Department. The purpose of Child Engagement is to alleviate the immediate stressors a child may be experiencing before, during, and after their Forensic Interview. We achieve this through the use of preparation, play intervention, and trauma-informed care.

  • Why: Children are more receptive to healing when they understand what they are about to experience. Child Engagement empowers children, helps regulate any negative emotions, and minimizes self-blame or guilt.
  • How: Child Engagement Advocates greet the child when they arrive to the center, prepares them for what to expect, using visual and physical aids. Each child’s emotional and basic needs are assessed and provided intervention, if needed. Developmentally appropriate mindfulness activities and education in coping skills is offered to each child during their visit.
  • Get Involved: On our Amazon Wish List you will find food, drinks, supplies for coping jars, and items for mindfulness activities that support the children we serve in Child Engagement.