Sixteen-year-old Ava* endured years of sexual abuse from her stepdad before she worked up the courage to tell her mom. Once she did, thankfully, her mom believed her and immediately took action to protect Ava, despite the fact mom was still married to the offender.
Her first stop was Synergy's Child Advocacy Center (CAC).
What are CACs and how do they help kids?
To understand what a 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, police, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may not get the help they need to heal once the investigation is over, either.
Synergy's CAC and others around the country bring together a multidisciplinary team, including law enforcement and child protective services, who work together to investigate, prosecute and treat child abuse cases. Having the center under Synergy's umbrella makes access to healing resources seamless as the child and family receive therapy and support services all in one spot, maximizing efficiency, leveraging expertise and ensuring the right services are available at the right time.
In Ava's case, once at the CAC she completed a forensic interview. This one interview gathered all of the information needed by the investigative team without having Ava repeat her traumatic story.
Ava's family also received specialized advocacy services to help them navigate the sometimes confusing child welfare system.
In addition to having her legal needs met, Ava and her family received immediate and ongoing traumatic stress intervention therapy to help them communicate and manage their trauma. She is
now safe, and she and her family are on the path to recovery.
In Synergy's quest to provide the highest quality care to achieve the best possible outcomes for children and their families, the collaborative CAC model just makes sense.
makes these programs--and all their positive results--a reality for the more than 300 children and their families that will be served at the CAC this year. We can't do it without you!
*Name changed to protect victim's privacy.