Dear CACI Friends, 

If the last five months has taught us anything, we know that our lives (and work) can change very quickly and often. We've all had to adapt to new information and recommendations, and then adapt to new information and recommendations that follow.  

Resiliency is the word that comes to mind, resiliency is an incredible quality, but it can be exhausting. We already know that from the kids and families that we work with on a daily basis. This is a reminder to all of us. We can do hard things, but we need to be kind to ourselves and others during difficult times, we don't always get everything just right. That has to be ok.  

I've witnessed the staff at CACI rise to the occasion by completely altering the training and monitoring process to a virtual platform. Not only have these programs survived, they have thrived. Our reach has grown tremendously in numbers and impact. Our social media presence has grown as we focus on engaging the community to continue to understand and fight against the problem of child abuse and fight for the cause of wellness.  

CAC directors and staff are networking by virtual meetings in order to be best informed about how to best serve children who are victims of abuse. The passion in these conversations is undeniable, even in the face of the pandemic and concerns over their own families.  

CAC staff and partner agencies of law enforcement and DCFS continue to be on the front lines as Essential employees, making sure that kids get the services they need when they need it in the safest way possible.  

We have an amazing network of professionals in Illinois who work to serve our most vulnerable. They don't give up. Thank you to you all out doing this work. You are important and you are appreciated.  

With a grateful heart, 

Please join us in congratulating Dr.   Careyana M Brenham  on her newly appointed role as CACI Board of Director Secretary. She has served on the Board since 2016.

Dr. Brenham is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Springfield Illinois working with the  SIU Center for Family Medicine-Springfield  (SIU Family and Community Medicine Federally Qualified Health Clinic). She is the Residency Program Director for SIU Family & Community Medicine. In this role she coordinates and oversees resident schedules and educational experiences as well as ensures the continued accreditation of the residency program. Dr. Brenham also has done extensive training and work in Child Maltreatment in particular in Child Sexual Abuse. She served on the Children’s Justice Task Force from 2006 – 2016 which is a State Task Force made up of representatives from the medical field, law enforcement,  Illinois Department of Children and Family Services , and legal system to look at state recommendations to promote the protection of children and provision of services to those that have been abused. She held the role of Vice-Chair in 2007-2008 and then the role of Chair from 2008 -2009. Dr. Brenham also has served on the Child Death Review Team since 2013 which reviews child death cases in central Illinois to provide recommendations for potential programs or initiatives to prevent future deaths related to possible child maltreatment. Dr. Brenham works with the  Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center  and other surrounding County Advocacy Centers to provide medical forensic exams and medical treatment for children that have been sexually abused. She sees children on a weekly basis on referral from the Child Advocacy Center, from private physicians, and from the police or DCFS services. Dr. Brenham also does case reviews for the Department of Children and Family Services and serves as an expert witness in court trials for child maltreatment cases.
Cheryl Peterson has stepped down after 6 years of serving the CACI Board of Directors. Cheryl has been instrumental in shaping CACI during her term and we are beyond grateful for her warmth and dedication. Our staff, Board Members, and our state's 40 CACs have greatly appreciated her expertise and dedication to the children of Illinois.

For over 25 years she worked for DCFS where she coordinated the Children’s Justice Task Force and numerous federal grant projects. She also promoted the development of CACs throughout the state of Illinois and managed the DCFS contracts that provided start-up funding. From 2008 – 2013 she represented child protective services on the  National Children's Alliance  Board.

Since her retirement in 2012, Cheryl has done consulting work and has been active on the vestry and finance committee at Church of the Ascension. She loves to travel, garden, read, and explore the many cultural activities in Chicago with her friends and family.
THANK YOU Cheryl!!
CACI is excited to announce that Cara Vock has been promoted to Director of Programs/Member Services!
Cara is an invaluable member of our team and we are excited about her new role at CACI.

Cara began her role as Coordinator of Training and Education on August 22, 2016. She graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Sciences. Her background at the McLean State’s Attorney’s Office as well as the McLean County Children’s Advocacy Center gave her experience working closely with child victims, their non-offending caregivers, and 3 multi-disciplinary teams.

Please join us in congratulating her on her new role and wishing her all the best during the transition.
CACI looks forward to hosting our upcoming Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy class online Aug. 31, Sept. 1, Sept. 2, and Sept. 4. The class size is limited due to the online format, if you would like to be placed on the waiting list to attend this training please email . This no-cost training includes 12 follow up consultation calls and cost assistance with the certification exam. 

CACI hosted Interviewing Beyond Sexual Abuse Training online from June 30-Aug. 1st. with Forensic Interview Mentors Traci Mueller and Ali Alstott. Attendees learned to build upon prior knowledge and experience, to enrich their techniques in engagement, gathering of details and fluidity of forensic interviews.

Feedback from this training included:

  • "Traci and Ali are very knowledgeable and I do not have any suggestions for improvements for this training." 
  • "I really enjoyed that they used their own case experiences to help explain the material."
  • "I appreciated having two trainers that had completely different experiences as interviewers"
  • "What I liked best about the training is the opportunity to discuss cases beyond sexual abuse. There were lots of tips given such as ways to ask questions that I will use in the future"
  • "Great presenters and always so helpful. I feel comfortable asking them questions, and for their professional opinions on difficult topics" 
  • "They did such a great job for having to switch it to an online training." 
  • "This training was very well organized, and although I wish it could have been in person it was equally as beneficial." 
During July, more CACs have come live on the Collaborate system. Heading into FY21 it is exciting that together we will be able to utilize data more accurately and efficiently than ever before. 

Contact Jean -
If you haven't gotten your Subgrant Award Report (SAR) sent to me, please send it.

If you need me to resend it to you or have questions let me know.  

Contact Michael -
CACI will be hosting the first Virtual Building Resiliency Training with April House and their MDt partners on August 17th, via Zoom. 

If you have not yet had the Building Resiliency Training, please contact me for information and to schedule.

CACI will be hosting another Prosecutor focused virtual training session with the Zero Abuse Project on August 28th from 12:00 - 1:30 PM. The title of the training is "Ethical Considerations in Crimes Against Children." All MDT members are welcome to attend. Further details and call in information coming soon.

If you have any question, please email Mike -
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(SPRINGFIELD) WEEK - The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life for many, but the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services says it continues to help kids stay safe. DCFS Acting Director Marc D. Smith spoke exclusively with the Capitol...

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  Alice Antonelli , Director for NFF's Advisory Services, has gathered a series of best practices for nonprofit boards, including special crisis tips to help boards prioritize specific actions they can take right now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
FSA's Children's Advocacy Center awarded grant

Family Service Agency's Children's Advocacy Center was awarded a grant from Domestic Trafficking Victims Funds for the expansion of services in DeKalb County to victims of child sex trafficking and child pornography.

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Please take a moment to share Happy 31st Anniversary wishes to the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center! The CAC serves the counties of Sangamon, Christian, Menard and Logan.
The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center has been selected to receive three grants for programs to help children who have endured sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, sexual exploitation, child pornography, neglect, and exposure to violence.
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