Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County began as a project of the Junior League of Collin County. When the Center opened its doors in Plano, TX in 1992, we had the staff, space, and resources to serve only 10 percent of the children in our community victimized by abuse or neglect. At that time, the total population of Collin County was 292,321; with a child population of only 83,478. Twenty-five years later, the child population has grown exponentially to 259,572, a number just shy of the total population in 1992.
As the population of Collin County exploded, so has the number of alleged victims. As a result, there was an increased demand for our services. To meet the demand, the Center moved from its humble location on 15th Street to a small house on Avenue K. The growth of Collin County continued, taking the Center to its current location on Los Rios Boulevard in 1999, where we have the capacity to offer services to 100 percent of children in need, free of charge, with no waiting list. Since opening its doors, Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County has served more than 65,000 children and family members impacted by abuse.
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.