May 2023 - Madison County Child Advocacy Center Newsletter
This year so far, your donations helped the CAC...
Connecting with Carrie
A Note from Our Executive Director
Warmer weather is upon us, school is getting out for the summer, and the sun has been shining bright! It feels like an exciting and active time and we get to experience another great transition to sweet summertime! It has certainly been a busy couple months at the Center with services to children and families, prevention programming in local schools, staff training and development, networking and community awareness. I hope you enjoy reading about the many different partnerships and projects featured in our newsletter and the way our community comes together to support child victims of abuse!
Please stay connected to us through our website and follow us on Facebook. Join us for a tour of the Center at our Rise UP with the CAC events on the fourth Friday of the month. Educate yourself on child abuse, trauma, and ways you can support child victims of abuse and their families and share that knowledge. We have great “Let’s Talk” articles written by our site based, contracted therapists on many different topics on the resource tab of our website, go check them out!  Together we can create a community that is supportive of victims of abuse, rich with resources to promote health, healing and hope.
I hope you get a chance to enjoy some time in nature and reconnect to things that fuel your body and soul in this start to summer!

Be brave and courageous,
Messages from our Site-Based Therapists
Most abuse (91%) is perpetrated by someone known and trusted by the child and/or their family. Perpetrators of child sexual abuse often use grooming behaviors to disguise their behavior and discourage the child from telling a safe adult about the abuse. Researchers believe that while grooming can often be hard to identify, noticing the signs of grooming can help safe adults provide the help that children need. Click the link to keep reading!
With May being National Mental Health Awareness Month, “let’s talk” about children and their mental health; warning signs to look for indicating your child may be in distress, and ways you as their parent or caregiver can help support them.
Meet the CAC
Julie Eberhart
Office Administrator
Julie joined the CAC team in May of 2004, just 16 months after the CAC opened its doors. Julie loves to garden with her daughter, work on home-building projects with her dad, and enjoys watching her son race his car. Julie also LOVES to run! This past fall, Julie ran in her 6th Marathon in Chicago, with full support from her colleagues at the CAC. If you ever have the opportunity to stop by Julie's desk, be sure to check out her decor. Julie loves everything Halloween and has Halloween decorations up year-round! She gets the whole office into the spooky season every fall with her orange Halloween tree and festive decorations.
Julie said, "This month, I am celebrating my 19th year at the CAC and have truly enjoyed watching the CAC evolve into what it is today. Knowing we make an impact in the lives of children and their families we serve across the county is why I continue to do what I do every day. The children are our future, and the CAC is here to support their growth into adulthood. Because of all the support from our donors throughout the community, the CAC is currently celebrating its 20th Anniversary! I can’t wait to see where we will go from here!"
Updates about our Case Management Team

The Case Management Team has been very busy this spring. As we reach the close of the Hope and Comfort Drive, we have been hard at work organizing all the generous donations we received. We have been able to help many children and teens that have visited the center with items donated from this drive. It’s amazing to see the relief on a child’s face when they are able to visit our donation area and get the hygiene and comfort items they have not had access to during difficult times. The children feel a sense of control in their lives, if even for a brief moment, as they get to “shop” in our donation area for items they need.
On any typical day, the case management team is working to bridge the gap between families and the resources they need. One way the case managers have been doing this is by attending monthly community networking events with other non-profit agencies in the area. Recently we have made new connections with Biker’s Against Child Abuse, Puentes De Esperanza, and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. The Case Management Team at the Madison County CAC want to make sure that we are able to connect a family or child directly to that resource they might need at this time in their life.
In addition, the Case Management Team regularly attends roundtable discussions and training in areas that enhance the work we do with families. We are currently refreshing our toolbox with Motivational Interviewing Training, and we look forward to attending the Quarterly Advocate Roundtable for May presented by CACI. These roundtable discussions allow us to connect with other advocates statewide to process challenges, share ideas and resources, and have open discussions about ways to best serve our families and children.
Give Hope & Healing Year-Round
You can provide hope and healing for victims of child abuse in your community throughout the year. Become a member of the CAC Monthly Giving Society,
Have You Seen Us Out & About??
April was a busy month full of community engagement for the Center. We started it with the Child Abuse Prevention Month Kick-Off event at the Madison County Administrative Building in Edwardsville. Our very own Carrie Cohan spoke this year about our Prevention Program. We had the opportunity to speak to the Edwardsville Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of the Riverbend, and the Helmkamp Cares Foundation. We also attended a luncheon with Linus Blankets who has donated blankets to the children and families who utilize the Center on many occasions over the years. Many members of our team visited a new site location for UCAN, another CAC nearby in Jersey County. You may have also seen our children display at the Administrative Building, seen staff at the Collinsville/Maryville/Troy YMCA's Healthy Kids Fair, or maybe you attended Rise UP with the CAC tour (April was our largest group yet!) or Mingled with us and the Riverbend Growth Association! We love connecting with our community! If you would like to have us attend your event, meeting, or if you would like to connect with us, please contact Fund Development Specialist, Caroline,, 618.296.5398.
Mingling with the Riverbend
The Madison County Child Advocacy Center had the wonderful opportunity to host the Riverbend Growth Association's Member Mingle on April 12th. With over 60 in attendance, this was the most attended RBGA meeting and the largest gathering inside the Center. Thank you to everyone who attended, toured, and connected with the Center at this event! We are so happy that you were able to step inside our facility and see how we fight child abuse in Madison & Bond Counties first-hand.
Updates about our Forensic Interviewers

The start of 2023 has been busy for the Forensic Interviewers at the Center. In addition to the 164 kids that have received a forensic interview through the end of April, the interviewers are really concentrating on personal growth. Each expanding their knowledge and skills through the use of some really great trainings that are being offered. Forensic Interviewer Supervisor Jennifer said, "I am inspired by seeing each interviewer choosing areas of interest that they want to become more specialized in. This is going to be a great asset to the Center and to the community and kids and families that we serve."
All of the interviewers recently participated in Homeland Security Investigations’ Prepare and Predict Method training. This is a victim-centered approach to introducing evidence in a forensic interview. Forensic Interviewer Lauren enjoyed gaining a better understanding of how to present evidence in the most trauma-sensitive manner possible. Lauren also stepped up to present one of her interviews during the most recent regional peer review where other interviewers were able to observe a challenging interview that Lauren conducted and share their tips, thoughts, and ideas.
Forensic Interviewer Abby is currently engaged in an eight-part training series related to interviewing children with disabilities, a topic she is very passionate about. Sadly, children with disabilities experience abuse and maltreatment at a staggering rate, despite often being underrepresented in our child welfare and criminal justice systems. The great news is that children with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities can recall accurate information and interviewers like Abby strive to provide the best possible platform for kids to talk about their experiences. Abby also obtained her certification as a Diplomate Child Forensic Interviewer which is the highest level of certification! The Center now has two Diplomate interviewers on staff!
Forensic Interviewer Jacki chose to expand her knowledge of research to practice by completing a nine-week course, Translating Child Sexual Abuse Research to Practice: Everything you Need to Know, offered through The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. These courses were provided by professionals in the field with each training focusing on different areas of child abuse. Her personal favorites were, Moving Upstream to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, Child Sex Trafficking and Exploitation Prevention and Intervention, Child Sexual Abuse; Developing Communication/Evaluative Skills with Children and Parents as a Primary Prevention Tool, and When Child Abuse Hits Home: The Role of the Child Protection Worker in a Criminal Investigation of Child Sexual Abuse.
All of the interviewers have really enjoyed getting to connect with the community through the Rise Up tours and different community meetings that have taken place at the Center recently. We love getting to talk about what we do and answer any questions or misconceptions people may have about Forensic Interviewing. You can imagine that we enjoy talking to kids and we’re grateful that we once again were able to provide school prevention education to some of our local school districts. And while things may be winding down for the summer with the last days of school and sports seasons ending, the interviewers at the Center are motivated to keep expanding our knowledge and skills and providing the best service to our community!
The team at the Madison County Child Advocacy Center recently had its first-ever Team Development Day on May 4th. During this event, the team learned more about each individuals' roles within the organization, why each team member does what they do, and more about how each person interacts and communicates. These exercises have already proven to help the team learn who to turn to when figuring out a tough situation and how to change the way they face problems to get the best results possible. Thank you to Cathy Crabtree who facilitated a much needed day for the CAC staff!