Executive Director Children's Services Council
1968 Sebring Parkway, Sebring, Fl 33870
Phone: (863) 402-6845
Why We Exist:
“It shouldn't hurt to be a kid” and because of the Children’s Advocacy Center, child victims of abuse have a safe place to tell their story and feel secure in the knowledge that their abuser cannot reach them. The Advocacy Center provides a child-friendly facility, where victims of abuse can come and feel safe, while all agencies involving themselves in the case are available, on site, to meet the needs of the child.
The mission of the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is to minimize trauma of child abuse victims and provide prevention support to families needing assistance in keeping them intact. The CAC fulfills our mission by collaboratively coordinating all disciplines in the abuse field and bringing them together at the CAC to interview, evaluate and collectively make decisions. The CAC’s response reduces trauma to the victim, aids in more immediate follow-up on child abuse reports, aims to make offenders accountable for their actions, reduces costly and repetitious interviews, aids in more complete medical and mental health referrals and eliminates the duplication of efforts among agencies working in this arena. Children are better protected and their healing is more complete because of the CAC and the Multidisciplinary Team. In addition, because of enhanced accountability, government agencies are quicker to remove themselves from families where intervention is not justified.
The CAC in Highlands County has been accredited since 1998 and received its most recent accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance in June 2018.
Benefits of having a Children’s Advocacy Center In Your Community:
- Reduced trauma to Child Victims
- Child abuse reports are investigated more promptly and more thoroughly through the MDT.
- More offenders are held accountable because prosecutions are more successful.
- The number of costly and repetitious child victim interviews is greatly reduced.
- Medical and mental health referrals are completed more efficiently and treatments are trauma-focused.
- Child victims and their non-offending caregivers participate in healing together.
- Duplication of effort is eliminated.
- Prevention & Education of the community, stakeholders, and professionals is increased and evidence-base
Duty To Report:
According to Florida law, it is the duty of every person residing in the state to report the suspicion of child abuse. Some professionals are mandated to give their name when making a report, but most calls can be made anonymously. Suspected child abuse calls can be made to the Florida Abuse Registry Hotline at: 1(800) 96 ABUSE or 1(800) 962-2873 or via online report at: Report Abuse Online.