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Start a Local Center

There are several steps a community can take to assist them in identifying local leadership, securing area resources, and laying a strong, lasting foundation that will ensure development of a successful children's advocacy center (CAC).

Assess local needs

Collect the following statistics from the past three years:

This data will provide a comprehensive overview of current strengths and weaknesses in the child abuse investigation, prosecution and intervention systems within your own community. These statistics can serve as a roadmap for determining the scope of the local program, what services it should offer, what the target population looks like, which local agencies need to be involved and at what level. In addition, once the local center is operational, this initial needs assessment will provide an important benchmark for determining if the program is truly making a difference in these cases and in the lives of child victims.

Initiate dialogue among local child abuse agencies

Include agencies such as:

Use dialogue as an opportunity to assess levels of interest and commitment regarding formation of a multidisciplinary team and development of a CAC.

Identify Community Leadership

Identify and involve local community leaders with an interest in issues related to child abuse victims and their families. Assess level of interest and commitment related to formation and support of a CAC.

Identify Community Resources

Identify and communicate with individuals, groups, businesses and organizations that have an interest in the well-being of local children. Identify community resources including people, finances, facilities, materials, services, etc. that might be useful in the establishment, development and maintenance of a CAC. By contacting CACTX as early as possible in the development stages of a CAC, communities can benefit from the wealth of collective experience of successful, established CACs throughout Texas. CACTX can provide resource materials, public presentations, and training. CACTX can also provide ongoing direction and technical assistance for communities in the early stages of CAC development.

Did you know:

Out of 43,000 child victims served at a CAC in Texas each year: 67%

of these children are female.