Welcome! We understand that the first visit to the Child Advocacy Center can be stressful, particularly when there is a concern of sexual or other severe abuse. The following Q’s & A’s are those we most often encounter:
Why must my child come to the Child Advocacy Center?
The CAC provides a neutral child-friendly space where the members of the Child Protective Investigative Team can address concerns regarding severe abuse.
Where do I take my child?
We are located at 752 N Main Street, Clinton, TN 37716. Office hours are 8am to 5pm, Monday -Friday, with on-call hours as needed.
What happens when children come to the Child Advocacy Center?
First, register your child at the front counter and let staff know you are here and what service your child will be receiving. You will meet with an advocate, who will complete an intake questionnaire and provide you with information. Next, your child will meet with the service provider.
Who provides services to the children?
Children may see a forensic interviewer, a victim advocate, a therapist or a nurse practitioner, depending on the purpose of the visit.
What should I tell my child about coming to the Child Advocacy Center?
Please tell your child about the reason for their visit to the CAC (To see a counselor, talk with an interviewer, to get a “check-up”, etc.). This helps them know what to expect, and helps them prepare themselves.
Should I bring anything?
Your child’s social security number will be needed. Custody papers/guardianship papers if applicable.
How long will the visit last?
A forensic interview lasts as long (or as short) a time as is needed for the child to tell their story of what happened. A medical evaluation will last 2-2 1/2 hours. A therapy appointment is approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
Who should I call if I have questions?
Please call 865-463-2740, and ask to speak to one of the staff. We will be happy to assist you!
Why is a forensic interview important?
A forensic interview will provide your child to tell their story in a neutral and safe setting to a professional who has been trained to “talk to kids” when there is a concern of severe abuse or other crime.
What happens during the forensic interview?
The child and interviewer will talk in a neutral, child-friendly room. Guidelines for how to talk (agree to tell the truth, etc.) are reviewed and the child is shown he cameras and told the interview is being recorded. The interviewer follows a protocol and talks with the child, until the interview is concluded. During the interview, the DCS investigator and detective assigned to the case observe over CCTV. They are able to communicate with the interviewer via ear bud.
Will a forensic interview cause additional trauma to my child?
The forensic interviewer has had special training and the interview protocol is designed to minimize trauma to the child. We work with the child, letting them tell what happened with their own words. Some children show through drawings, or other ways. In rare situations when a child experiences distress, we end the session early.
May I stay with my child during the forensic interview?
No. Only the forensic interviewer and the child are in the room. Please remember that other members of the Team are observing your child and the interviewer at all times. After the interview, information that you need to know to keep your child safe will be shared with you by the investigator/detective.
Will I get a copy of the interview or interview report?
No. The results of the interview (any DVDs made, summaries, etc.) become the property of the District Attorney General. While law enforcement can obtain this information if needed, it is not released to parents or other caregivers. It is highly protected.
Is a medical exam important?
Sometimes, a medical exam is done to be sure the child has no injury, infection or other physical problem. Most children are reassured that their bodies are healthy. If there are signs of injury or infection, these can be documented and treated.
What happens during a medical exam?
Your child will receive a full medical evaluation by a Nurse Practitioner who specializes in the pediatric sexual assault evaluations. Examination of the genital area is done by looking at the area, using a special instrument called a colposcope. Some children may be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, if indicated by their disclosures of abuse.
Will the medical exam hurt my child?
For most children, the exam is not painful.
Will a medical exam cause additional trauma to my child?
Time is taken to explain and help children through the examination process. This effort reduces most children’s distress.
May I stay with my child during the medical exam?
The child is always asked who, if anyone, they would like to have in the exam room. Whenever possible, we respect the child’s preference in this regard.
Will a medical exam show if my child was sexually abused?
Not necessarily, however, this does not mean sexual abuse did not occur. Some sexual activity does not leave lasting signs.
Who is given results of the examination?
A copy of the medical report can only go to investigators. However, parents/caregivers are always given information needed to keep the child safe and healthy.
Mental Health Therapy
Are the therapists Child Advocacy Center staff ?
No, while the Child Advocacy Center is a state licensed mental health out patient facility, the therapists are from the Solution Source (Knoxville) and see the clients at the Child Advocacy Center. The therapists provide Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy designed to help the child heal and recover. The child’s parent/caregiver is an essential part of the child’s treatment team and will be involved in the therapy sessions as appropriate to the model.
What if my child is very young?
Play therapy is available for the littler children if needed.
(this section is under construction)
REPORT CHILD ABUSE!
To report suspected child abuse in the State of Tennessee call: 1-877-237-0004
If you or a family member needs assistance due to abuse, please contact the Child Advocacy Center.
The Child Advocacy Center of Anderson County Tennessee is funded under an agreement with the State of Tennessee. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.