The Victim Advocates provide services to child victims and their non-offending family members from the time the case is opened through case disposition. The Victim Advocates initially meet with non-offending parents to gather basic information, listen to his/her concerns, and to explain the investigative and legal process. The Victim Advocate also assesses needed service referrals, provides medical and court advocacy, and keeps the victim and supportive family members up to date on the status of the case.
The Forensic Interviewer is specially trained to interview children who have alleged child abuse or are witnesses of child abuse or violent crimes. The job of the Interviewer is to gather facts during the conversation/interview with your child. The Forensic Interviewer and the child will be the only two people in the interview room. The interview room is separated from an observation room by a two-way mirror. DCFS and Law Enforcement Investigators will be in the observation room.
Ultimately, in the child’s best interest, it is the policy of the SCCAC that parents are not allowed to observe interviews.
Parents are NOT allowed to observe a child’s interview for several reasons:
- It can be distracting for the child to know his/her parents are watching.
- A child may be less willing, or able, to share the details of abuse with his/her parent observing
- It can be very distressing as a parent to hear details of the abuse which they may have been unaware
- There may be parents who will try to convince his/her child to recant or change his/her story
You can be assured that your child will be treated with respect.
Crisis Intervention Counseling
A therapist is available at the Center for victims and their non-offending family members. The therapist works to assist in the healing process, accessing needs, feelings, and other related issues. After a disclosure of abuse is made by a child his/her life can change dramatically. The Center employs a full time therapist, who is specially trained to respond to the needs of the children and their non-offending family members. The therapist will assist the multi-disciplinary team in making sound decisions for the child’s health and safety while maintaining confidentiality.
Students in grades K-6 hear a personal safety lesson that uses a safety rule format. The program teaches the safety rule that “No one should touch the private parts of your body unless it is to keep you clean or healthy”. The Center’s personal safety programs are specifically designed to meet the developmental needs of each age group/grade level. All programs encourage children to talk to a grown up.
If you’d like to learn more about the personal safety programs offered by the Center, please call 217-522-2241.
The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is a community volunteer who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interest of an abused and/or neglected child in juvenile court.
Prior to being assigned, a CASA volunteer undergoes 40 hours of training on pertinent topics such as, child development, indicators of abuse, separation and attachment, cultural awareness, communication, the court system, and more.
The CASA Volunteer works independently for the court alongside attorneys and case workers. A CASA Volunteer researches all that is happening in a child’s life. The volunteer interviews all of the involved parties then reports those findings back to the presiding Juvenile Court Judge. The CASA Volunteer speaks to the best interest of the child or children for whom they are assigned.
If you would like more information about volunteering for the CASA program, please contact the Center.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is the only volunteer organization that empowers everyday citizens as appointed members of the court. In an overburdened social welfare system, abused and neglected children often slip through the cracks among hundreds of current cases. CASA volunteers can change that. Appointed by judges, CASA volunteers typically handle just one case at a time—and commit to staying on that case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. While others may come and go, CASA volunteers provide that one constant that children need in order to thrive.
Need for CASA Volunteers
Each year, nationally around 75,000 CASA and GAL volunteers advocated for about half of the children in the child welfare system at any given time. Our volunteers are an amazing force for good, but we need more of them. Our vision is that every child who needs a volunteer will have one. With your help, we can reach that goal.
People who give their time to CASA advocacy come from many different places. Some have years of education and professional experience working for children and families. Some have themselves grown up in the foster care system and felt the sorrow of having to move from home to home.
Being a CASA volunteer does not require any special education or background, simply the desire to help abused and neglected children find safe, permanent homes.
If you are interested in becoming a CASA volunteer you may contact us at 217-522-2241.
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