Mission: The mission is to serve children who are victims of sexual and severe physical abuse through prevention, education, and intervention.
Programs: The memphis child advocacy center (cac) supports safety for children through informed prevention, community collaboration, and a team approach to healing and justice for victims of child sexual and severe physical abuse. The memphis (cac) facilitates a best practice interdisciplinary team response to reports of suspected child sexual abuse or severe physical abuse. The shelby county child protection investigation team, headquartered at the child advocacy center, includes a total of 66 law enforcement officers, child protection investigators, prosecutors and cac intervention staff-all housed at the center's child friendly centralized location. The combined knowledge of professionals from multiple disciplines results in a strong investigation; fosters healing from trauma; and pursues accountability for those who perpetrate abuse. Memphis cac intervention staff include 4 master level therapists; 3 forensic interviewers; and 2 advocates. Cac therapists use an evidence- based therapy modality, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Therapists work with the child and the non-offending parent or caregiver to facilitate healing and remain safe from abuse in the future. In fy2014, 494 children and parents/caregivers received therapy services at the center. Outcome evaluation shows statistically significant decreases in the majority of symptoms experienced by victimized children, indicating that the center's therapy services are effective in helping children resolve trauma. Cac forensic interviewers use a nationally accepted protocol when interviewing suspected victims of child sexual abuse. The interviews are neutral, legally-defensible and developmentally appropriate for every child. In fy2014, 1,042 children participated in a forensic interview at the cac. Each interview was observed by investigators from other involved team agencies via closed-circuit television. Cac advocates connect families, when needed, to needed outside services (examples include housing, food pantry, victim's compensation) and help them navigate the legal system. In addition to the memphis cac's critical services for victims of child abuse, the prevention team provides evidence-based prevention training for parents, professionals, and volunteers who work with children in schools and daycares, faith-based organizations, and community groups such as sports leagues, parent groups, and after school organizations. Training offered includes the nationally recognized, research-informed stewards of children child sexual abuse prevention and response training. Evaluation indicates significant increased likelihood that adults who have been trained will take specific steps to decrease opportunities for abuse to occur. In fy2014, the cac provided training to 2,953 adults. The cac also offers child protection policy workshops to aid youth-serving organizations in creating and strengthening policy and procedure to help ensure the safety of children in their care and to guide appropriate response and reporting of any suspicions of abuse. The memphis child advocacy center was certified as a child abuse prevention agency by the state of tennessee in 2001. A full member of the national children's alliance since 1992, the center meets the rigorous membership standards and was recertified in 2008. In 2007, the memphis child advocacy center received the united way's brad wanzer award of excellence, recognizing the center's high level of accountability, program outcomes measures, and collaboration. The memphis child advocacy center is the only full-service agency in memphis/shelby county with a mission specific to child sexual abuse. For more information on the best practice prevention and intervention programs available at the memphis child advocacy center, visit memphiscac. Org.