The Will County Children's Advocacy Center and our MDT partners are the front-line responders to reports of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse of children, ages 3-17, in Will County, Illinois.
In 1995, Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow, established the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, in order to improve the integrity of all investigations into allegations of child sexual abuse, while providing hope, healing and justice for the children and their families.
Prior to opening the Will County CAC, children who suffered sexual abuse were required to make multiple statements to numerous parties, including law enforcement, child welfare workers and medical professionals, thereby increasing their trauma and enabling predators to exploit minor differences in their various statements.
What is a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC)?
A CAC is a child-focused, inter-agency coordinated response center, in which representatives from law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy — collaborate to investigate child abuse reports, conduct forensic interviews, determine and provide evidence-based interventions, and assess cases for prosecution.
In Illinois, Children’s Advocacy Centers are defined and supported by state statute 55 ILCS 80 - Children’s Advocacy Center Act.
To understand what a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, cops, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble, or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other adult that could hurt the case against the abuser.
When police or child protective services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult.
At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not not retraumatize the child. Then, a team that includes law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview.
CACs offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs.
Help us continue to provide hope, healing & justice for abused children.
Last year, the Will County Children's Advocacy Center served more than 430 Will County children (and their non-offending family members) who were sexually abused, severely physically abused, or who had witnessed a violent crime.
Children who have been victimized, and receive services are less likely to: abuse drugs or alcohol, grow up to become victims of domestic violence, become involved in some sort of criminal activity, suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, and/or develop suicidal ideation and self-harm.
Your financial gift can make a profound difference in changing a child’s life.