The History of Children’s Advocacy Centers
The Children’s Advocacy Center model of a Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) approach, was developed through the vision of Former Alabama Congressman, Robert E. “Bud” Cramer, Junior. While serving as District Attorney, Cramer reached the conclusion that efforts to investigate and prosecute child abuse were often duplicated and inefficient. In a criminal justice system designed around adults, child victims were being re-victimized by the system, having to retell their abuse stories to multiple investigators. Criminal cases were weakened by the lack of coordination between agencies. Therefore, Cramer and a group of key individuals pulled together law enforcement, criminal justice, Family and Protective Services, and medical and mental health workers into one coordinated team. Congressman Cramer’s vision to create a child-friendly environment where children could receive all services needed to help heal from abuse led to the creation of more than 1,000 Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, with more than 70 centers in Texas.