Child Advocacy Center
Where small voices can be heard
What is our Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center?
A CAC offers coordinated services to help children and their families through an investigation of child abuse. When abuse is suspected, a child will come to a CAC to describe what happened to them in an environment that is safe and child-focused.
A multidisciplinary team, specializing in child abuse, will conduct a thorough and collaborative investigation. The need of the child will receive the highest priority and specific care will be taken to minimize further trauma or anxiety.
Our Child Advocacy Center Offers:
- Forensic Interviews – are conducted by professional members of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) who have received advanced training in child interviewing. The interviewer avoids questions that might be considered suggestive or coercive.
- Victim Advocacy – is a program whose mission is to provide comprehensive specialized services for victims. Services include responding to the immediate needs of child crime victims and non-offending family members and provide education and support. Referrals are routinely made for other needed services.
- Pediatric Forensic Medical Exams – conducted by specially trained and certified Nurse Practitioners. Exams conducted by these highly qualified examiners provide support to the child and family. The exams may be conducted at the Child Advocacy Center or the Saratoga Hospital Emergency Room.
- Counseling Services – are available through Saratoga Center for the Family. Specially trained trauma focused therapists provide individual, family and group counseling for child victims and non-offending family members.
Saratoga Center for the Family is one of the recipients of the 2014-15 grants from the New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS). This grant enables The Center to provide victim advocacy to anyone who has been a victim of a crime in Saratoga County.
Our Crime Victim Advocate is available for the children and their families that come through our Child Advocacy Center for investigations of abuse allegations, for our counseling clients who may disclose to their therapists that they have been a victim of a crime, and any other member of the community identified as a crime victim.
The advocate is a trained professional that is here to support any victim of a crime. She offers victim information, emotional support, help finding resources, and assistance filling out paperwork.
Additionally, the advocate is able to:
- Listen and provide emotional support
- Provide Education
- Be a support and link to resources available
- Make referrals for counseling
- Explain and assist with a crime victim compensation application
- Accompany you and your child to court proceedings and depositions
- Provide information on legal rights and protection
- Assist with intervention with landlords, creditors and employers on behalf of the victim
It’s important to note that you do not have to be a client at Saratoga Center for the Family to receive these services. Anyone in the community that has been victimized can utilize this valuable resource.
For more information please go to: https://ovs.ny.gov
Children’s Advocacy Centers Make A Difference
The multidisciplinary approach expedites the investigation and prosecution of those who offend against children, while providing a safe, child friendly, full service environment where these children can begin the healing process. This approach is designed to provide team collaboration on all child cases, thus assuring improved response time, coordination and information sharing.
- CAC investigations are more likely to be conducted in a coordinated fashion; making the process easier on the families
- Non-offending parents and caregivers exhibit higher satisfaction with the investigation
- Children are more likely to receive a mental health referral
- Children are more likely to receive a forensic medical examination if they are involved with a CAC (48 % vs. 21%)
Saratoga County Partnership for Safe Children
The Saratoga Center for the Family (SCFF) is the lead agency of the Saratoga County Partnership for Safe Children, the County’s legislated multi-disciplinary team (MDT). The MDT is comprised of specially trained professionals from county law enforcement, prosecution, social service, medical, and mental health agencies and disciplines.
The Saratoga County Partnership for Safe Children is the driving force behind the formation and continuation of the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center.
The Partners are invested in the Center and its’ services to children.
Partnership for Safe Children
- Attorney for the Child
- CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services
- Community Volunteers
- Mechanicville Community Center Domestic Violence Program
- New York State Police
- NYSP Victim Advocacy Services
- Office of Saratoga County Attorney
- Office of the Saratoga County District Attorney
- Pediatric Forensic Medical Providers
- Saratoga Center for the Family
- Saratoga County Child Protective Services
- Saratoga County EOC Head Start
- Saratoga City Health Department
- Saratoga County Mental Health Clinic
- Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department
- Saratoga Hospital Saratoga Emergency Physicians, PC
- Saratoga Springs City School District
- Saratoga Springs Police Department
- Shenendehowa Central School District
- The Prevention Council
- Victim Advocacy Services of the FBI
All police agencies in Saratoga County and surrounding areas are welcome to utilize Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center.