JOLIET – The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center has been awarded re-accreditation by National Children’s Alliance following an extensive application and site review process.
Accreditation is the highest level of membership awarded by National Children’s Alliance, which is the accrediting agency for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) across the country. Accreditation denotes excellence in providing services for centers that respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient and put the needs of child victims first.
Accredited CACs must undergo a re-accreditation process every five years to ensure that best practices are continually applied. This year’s re-accreditation reflects the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center’s commitment to providing evidence-based methods of practice.
Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow established the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center as a 501-(c)-3 charitable organization in 1995 to vastly improve investigations into cases involving the sexual abuse of children. Today, when children make outcries of sexual abuse, they are brought to the center, where trained and compassionate forensic interviewers obtain accurate statements in a neutral, non-suggestive, and child-friendly environment.
Interviews recorded at the Children’s Advocacy Center have been used in the successful prosecution of thousands of child predators over the last two decades. In addition, the center’s experienced staff provides children and families with counseling, medical exams, legal advocacy, community resource referrals, and other social services to enable the healing process to begin.
Within a year of opening, the center was granted full membership status in the National Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, now known as the National Children’s Alliance, and earned full accreditation by 2004. As an Accredited Member of National Children’s Alliance, the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center is dedicated to providing comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.
“Re-accreditation validates the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center’s commitment and approach to effective, compassionate intervention in child abuse cases,” said State’s Attorney Glasgow. “I established the center 20 years ago to enable police and prosecutors to put dangerous predators behind bars while providing vulnerable victims and their families with important medical and counseling services to help them heal. Our new executive director, Lisa Morel Las, steered the Children’s Advocacy Center through the most recent re-accreditation process. Lisa and her caring team of professional are poised to take the services we provide to the next level over the next two decades.”
National Children’s Alliance awards Accredited Membership based on a CAC’s compliance with 10 national standards of accreditation to ensure effective, efficient and consistent delivery of services to child abuse victims. Accredited members must utilize a functioning and effective multidisciplinary team approach to work collaboratively in the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse cases. National Children’s Alliance also considers standards regarding a center’s cultural competency and diversity, forensic interviews, victim support and advocacy, medical evaluation, therapeutic intervention, and its child-focused setting.
“As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, our goal is to ensure that every victim of child abuse has access to high-quality services that result from professional collaboration. By requiring accredited centers to undergo re-accreditation every five years, we ensure that evidence-based practices are being implemented and the highest quality of service is being provided,” said Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance.
For more information about the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center, visit www.willcountycac.org.
The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center was established by Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow in 1995 to improve the way child abuse cases are investigated. When there is an allegation of abuse, children come into contact with complex law enforcement, medical and child welfare systems that can be frightening and bewildering. The center’s staff performs child-sensitive interviews which are conducted by trained and caring professionals in a non-suggestive, child-friendly environment. The goal is to reduce the child's trauma by obtaining a statement in a one-time, videotaped interview. The Children's Advocacy Center guides children and families through the interview process and provides critical follow up assistance after a family leaves the Center.
National Children’s Alliance is the national association and accrediting body for the over 750 children’s advocacy centers serving each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first, National Children’s Alliance provides support and advocacy to its accredited membership, as well as numerous developing centers, multidisciplinary teams and child abuse professionals around the country and the world. As the national authority on multidisciplinary approaches to supporting child victims of abuse, the purpose of National Children’s Alliance is to empower local communities to provide comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse. Founded in 1998, National Children’s Alliance provides accreditation opportunities, financial assistance, training, technical assistance, research and education to communities, child abuse professionals and children’s advocacy centers throughout the United States in support of child abuse intervention, advocacy and prevention. For more information visit www.nationalchildrensalliance.org.