A Message from the Executive Director
Dear Friends, 

Happy Fall! As we move into this new season, remember to take time to appreciate and notice the world around you. Changing leaves, cooler weather, and shorter days are upon us, enjoy it! At CACI, fall also means that we're spending time assessing this year's events and planning for next year. This has been quite a year so far, and still more to come. Change is upon us. With this change, a few thank you's are in order.  

I'd like to thank our amazing CAC director's for participating in our Annual Directors' Meeting (virtually) on September 15th. I am continually impressed by your professionalism and the compassion for your staff and the children and families that you serve. Spending time together is energizing and reminds me why we all continue to do this work. And, thank you to our funders; Midwest Regional Children's Advocacy Centers (MRCAC), Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), National Children's Alliance (NCA), and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). During this time of unease and the unknown, our funders have stepped up to assist with flexibility, as well as with additional funding for the Chapter and the CACs in responding to the pandemic. This is essential for the work of the CACs to continue. I am grateful for the relationships and collaboration we share with all in this child welfare realm in Illinois. We are very fortunate and I am proud of our state.  

Take care all, 

Virtual Hill Day

September 9, 2020 -
The CACI staff along with Illinois CAC Executive Directors held a virtual meeting with Randy Sikowski, Downstate Director for Senator Tammy Duckworth. And, on September 15th, as a group, we were able to have a phone call with Senator Dick Durbin.

With the U.S. Congress currently not scheduling in-person visits, and the rescheduled and now virtual, NCA Leadership Conference, this was our opportunity to share the impact the pandemic is having on the CACs and the families that are served. Help educate them about where federal resources are most needed and how they can best help local communities. A few points highlighted were:

  1. How COVID is impacting the services for Illinois kids/families
  2. How COVID is impacting the work you do with your MDT partners
  3. Our thanks for the continued support of CACs, as well as the increased VOCA funding over the last 6 years. It was just six years ago that the CACs were receiving, across all states, $21 mill
  4. Asked to pass a “VOCA Fix” that addresses the long-term sustainability of the VOCA Fund, a waiver of the VOCA Match requirement to cover the pandemic, and funding needs for the VOCA Victims Compensation program. 
  5. FY21 funding - urged all offices to continually weigh in with CJS Appropriators and ask about the funding for the Victims of Child Abuse Act
  6. Support of the EARN IT (Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act) bill
  7. Increase CAPTA funding and specifically include CACs as "eligible uses" of these funds, among other things.
The Board of Directors, Executive Director Kim Mangiaracino and the staff of the Children's Advocacy Centers of Illinois is excited to announce the addition of Ms. Verleaner R. Lane, MA to the BOD!

Verleaner is the Project Coordinator for Project CHILD as a Visiting Project Specialist contracted employee within the Institute for Legal, Legislative, and Policy Studies (ILLAPS) at the University of Illinois Springfield. Verleaner has over 30 years of child welfare experience, working with children and families.
Verleaner is the author of “Why Didn’t He See the Beauty in Me?” In 2018, Verleaner started her own motivational speaking company Pour into V’s Vessel, Inc. Verleaner is a dedicated member of St. John Missionary Baptist Church,“ a church where everybody is somebody”. She is a proud alumnus of Lane Technical High School where she continues to work with the Black Alumni raising monies for scholarships. Verleaner completed her undergraduate work at Northern Illinois University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Criminology. While at NIU she was the President of Northern Black Choir. Ms. Lane attended graduate studies at Governor State University with a Master of Art’s in Early Childhood Education.
You can find Verleaner being a servant working hard in the vineyard with the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Will County Black Diamond Chapter Chapter a national professional and humanitarian organization, which she is one of the chartering members and currently the President. She is one of the co-founders and currently the President for Divas Down for The Cause, Inc. a charitable organization dedicated to supporting and empowering individuals; transforming their life challenges into opportunities for success. For the past 26 years, Verleaner has served on the Board of Directors for Lenore’s Kitchen Catering. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Xi Nu Omega Chapter. She is a member of The Professional Woman Network. New member of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois Board of Directors. Verleaner is a native of Chicago and lives in South Holland, IL.
On September 14, 2020 thirteen leaders from across the state trained with National Children's Advocacy Center (Huntsville, AL) Executive Director, Chris Newlin. The purpose of this training was to learn about best managing teams, and how to promote buy-in from all levels of leaders throughout the team and the community.

We are very fortunate to have this ongoing training opportunity provided to us by Midwest Regional Children's Advocacy Center (Minneapolis, MN).
With special thanks to Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center, we are excited to share that the Erin's Law guidance is now posted on ISBE’s website!

Please share with your agency/partners/network.
September 10-11, 2020 p- Fifteen (15) CAC directors met digitally with National Children's Alliance site reviewers Billie Larkin and Jan Lutz to learn how to best meet National Accreditation Standards for Children's Advocacy Centers. These standards are evidence and research based to best support children and families who utilize the services of Children's Advocacy Centers.

We are so pleased to have these experts available to bring a high level of training to leaders across Illinois. 
September 4, 2020 - Twelve (12) Illinois mental health clinicians completed our 4-day online Trauma Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training. 

These therapists will spend the next 7 months consulting with our nationally recognized certified trainer, Dr. Melissa Runyon, to become certified in this evidenced based model of therapy.

These folks are true superheroes for kids. In conjunction with their local CAC they will assist children in processing and overcoming any trauma they may have experienced.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) launched a new way to report child abuse in Illinois on Sunday, September 13th.
The Online Reporting System is to be used for non-life threatening and non-emergency incidents of abuse or neglect of a child: https://dcfsonlinereporting.dcfs.illinois.gov/
If you believe the abuse or neglect you are reporting requires immediate action, you MUST call the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873) to make your report.
CALL the DCFS Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline instead of using the Online Reporting System for situations including but not limited to:

- Current injuries to the child
- Immediate need for medical treatment (including a child who is suicidal)
- Sexual abuse where the involved adult has or will have access to a child within the next 24 hours
- A child is currently afraid to go home
- A child is currently in protective custody of police or medical personnel
- A child death

July, August, and September wrap up CACI's first quarter of the year. CACI continues to offer training opportunities online due to COVID-19.

These past three months, CACI had
214 attendees at 14 trainings!

The following trainings were offered:

  • CACI & MRCAC Leadership trainings
  • Building Resiliency on the MDT
  • Ethical Considerations in CAC Cases
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)Training
  • NCA Accreditation Standards Training
  • Annual Directors Meeting
  • Mental Health Supervision

What some participants said about those trainings:

  • "Our mental health trainer did an excellent job of purposefully tending to each individual participant to keep engagement in place"- From TF-CBT Participant

  • "This was SO helpful! I loved that Billie Larkin and Jan Lutz went through standard by standard and each item. I thought I was in good shape with where I was until I attended this. I am going back and fixing a lot. I am so grateful for this training! Thank you" - From NCA Accreditation Standards Training Participant

  • "The Chapter is forward thinking and always has our best interests in mind and is working hard to preserve our place at the table. I appreciate that all CACI staff is engaged in these conversations especially today at the Annual Directors Meeting." - From Annual Directors Meeting Participant

  • "Victor Vieth was able to present real circumstances and brought up many points for discussion. He got our wheels turning."-From Ethical Considerations in CAC Cases Participant.

In addition to the diverse training opportunities offered in the past three months, CACI was able to provide a total of 136 participants with digital peer review opportunities. Peer Review is a requirement of the National Children's Alliance Accreditation Standards and is a forum for interviewers to read relevant research articles, discuss upcoming training opportunities, and helps improve forensic interviewers' performance by providing opportunities for feedback on interviewing techniques.   
Upcoming Trainings - Save the Date
The MDT Coordinator Training will be held virtually this year on December 3rd and 4th. Details and topics will follow soon.

Tomorrow, October 1st, CACI will be hosting the 4th virtual training session with Victor Veith from Zero Abuse Project. The training is from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm and is titled "The Day of Reckoning: The Art & Science of Cross-Examining Defendants and Defense Witnesses."

MCLEs will be available for those attorneys that are interested. As a reminder, although the training is directed toward attorneys, any MDT member may attend.

Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Fund (CESF) application will be open in AmpliFund Oct. 1st through Oct. 9th. Please let me know if you have any questions.

We will start site visits for FY21 in November. Most will be virtual until Spring. If COVID-19 is still a concern, all site visits will most likely be virtual. 

Quarterly Data Reports are due Oct. 10th. Please get them in on time. 

The Collaborate Forums began in September and are a success. We will begin having these on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month at 9:00 a.m. A Zoom link will be sent each time. 

Thanks so much to everyone who participated and I hope to see more participation in the future. Networking regarding Collaborate will help to make the system the best it can be. 

Together we can do great things.  

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