What is a Children’s Advocacy Center?
In 1985, Former Congressman Robert E. “Bud” Cramer (AL), who was then a District Attorney in Madison County, Alabama, saw the need to create a better system to help abused children. At that time, the social service and the criminal justice systems were not working together in an effective manner that children and families could trust, adding to their emotional distress, and creating a segmented, repetitious, and often frightening experience for child victims. Cramer envisioned a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) approach to child abuse cases, bringing together law enforcement, criminal justice, child protective services, medical and mental health workers onto one coordinated team to reduce victim trauma and improve case outcomes.
Since opening in 2002, Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center has worked to coordinate the intervention and support the investigation of reported child abuse sexual abuse cases in Iredell County, and expanded to Alexander County in 2005. All the services children need – forensic interviews, medical care, advocacy support and counseling – are offered under one roof in a safe, child-friendly location. Dove House is one of more than 40 Child Advocacy Centers in NC; one of 800 across the United States. It is built on the simple but powerful concept of coordination between community agencies and professionals involved in the system of child protection.