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2022 Annual Directors Conference

October 25-27, 2022

Hyatt Place Champaign Urbana


The morning started with a warm welcome from CACI Executive Director, Kim Mangiaracino. Lunch was sponsored by V2 Advocate, and Account Representative, Richie Curtis gave a short presentation, and raffled off an awesome Comfort Frog that the Braveheart Children's Advocacy Center WON!

The afternoon featured Vu Lee, founder of Nonprofit AF and his message "Letting Go: An Honest Conversation with Executive Leaders"


Joan Pernecke, CACI Board President and Former Chief of the Child Protection Division of the Juvenile Justice Bureau, Cook County and Mike Burns, CACI Statewide MDT Coordinator, jump started our morning by reviewing the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) data collection from the Illinois CACs.

BraveBe Child Advocacy Center Executive Director, Paige Piper and, Training & Prevention Director, Christy Prang presented "So You Can't Pay Top Dollar: How to Recruit, Motivate, and Retain Top Talent with Intangible Benefits." They shared resources with strategies and ideas for building intangible benefits, recruiting top talent and enhancing company culture.

Maja Cartwright, Director of Strategic Initiative, also with the BraveBe Child Advocacy Center shared her expertise with the group in her presentation "Maximizing OMS by Overcoming Obstacles". 

Gene Klein, Executive Director of Project Harmony talked about the importance of access to preventative mental health care for all children. The Connections program at Project Harmony offers professional, evidence-based therapy to students needing mental health care on a voluntary basis. This collaboration between Project Harmony, well-qualified therapists, schools, parents and their children provides a supportive network to address mental health concerns early, so all students have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.


That's a wrap! The 2022 Directors Conference has come to an amazing end 💙 Energized and productive conversations were had, and we look forward to sharing with you what comes next!

Our morning was filled with everything legislative 🏛 To our State Senators and Representatives, be on the lookout for the membership of the Children's Advocacy Centers of Illinois to be reaching out for introductions, and to share with you the important work that they are doing around our great state 💯

A special thank you goes out to CACI Executive Director, Kim Mangiaracino for your leadership, passion, and expertise ❤️. To the CACI Board Members that were able to be in attendance: Joan Pernecke, Board President and Former Chief of the Child Protection Division of the Juvenile Justice Bureau in Cook County, Jeff Brown, Board Vice-President, and Assistant State's Attorney, Sex Crimes Unit Will County State's Attorney's Office, and Verleaner R. Lane, Board Member and Project Coordinator at Project Child! And to V2 Advocate for being a Partner Sponsor for this event 💙

Throughout the month of September, CACI shared supportive resources and amazing way-back-when photos on our social media platforms as everyone is getting settled back into school. 

Thank you to everyone who participated! We have truly enjoyed taking the walk down memory lane with you.  

Take a look at the recap video!

2022 Virtual Yearbook
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Crime Scene to Trial training was held at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.  

September 27-29, 2022 - During this 3-day course, MDTs responded to a report of child maltreatment involving abusive head trauma, child sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, witnessing domestic violence and animal cruelty. Working as a team, students processed a crime scene, interviewed witnesses, interrogated suspects, conducted a forensic interview, applied for search warrants and mad decisions as to charges. The course also included workshops on topics including interrogating suspects, investigating polyvictimization and processing a crime scene.

Experiential training is the most effective form of training for prosecutors, law enforcement officers, forensic interviewers, child protection workers and other professionals responding to a report of child maltreatment as part of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT).

Congratulations to the 2022 Fall class of ChildFirst participants

October 3-7, 2022 - CACI wants to give a heartfelt thank you to the faculty, their CACs, and their families for allowing this impactful week to happen! 

ChildFirst is a week-long training, teaching multi-disciplinary team participants to forensically interview child victims and child witnesses in a fact finding, child friendly manner.

👧🏽 ChildFirst is an intensive five-day course in which students learn the necessary skills to conduct a forensic interview of an alleged child abuse victim. 

👦🏻 ChildFirst is designed for investigative teams of law enforcement officers, social workers, prosecutors, and forensic interviewers.  

👶🏼 Students receive training on the ChildFirst Forensic Interview Protocol, memory, and suggestibility, child development, testifying in court, legal issues and preparing children for court.

View the channel here

Making Sense of the Gray Area Called Grooming

Grooming. It's a concept that we who work to serve children and families impacted by abuse are glad to hear people discussing. If you haven't heard this term before or don't quite know what it means, here it is.  Grooming is a process used by those who abuse children to gain trust, access to children, and even silence about suspicions, not only on the part of the children they intend to abuse, but also on among the entire community.

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Introduction Mind Body Badge Episode 1

Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Staff Wellness Response Team launched its new podcast, The 4th Shift: Mind, Body, Badge. This monthly podcast focuses on the eight dimensions of wellness. The introduction to the podcast is available now on YouTube and Spotify.

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ICJIA | Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

ICJIA Budget Committee Funding Actions At the October 20, 2022, ICJIA Budget Committee Meeting, the committee approved two future funding opportunities and awarded nearly $8 million in grants to agencies and organizations across Illinois. The committee: * Approved a $2.9 million notice of funding opportunity for transitional housing programs to be released early next year.

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Childhood trauma can manifest without parents even knowing

Childhood trauma occurs more often than you might think and if it goes unaddressed, the potential consequences can be devastating, affecting the individual's life well into adulthood. Nothing matters more to a parent or caregiver than their child's happiness and wellbeing.

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Dasani Showed Us What It's Like to Grow Up Homeless. She's Still Struggling. (Published 2021)

Best we can tell, there are 1.38 million homeless schoolchildren in the United States. About one in 12 live in New York City. Several years ago, readers of this paper got to meet one, an 11-year-old Black girl with an unforgettable name: Dasani.

For five straight days in December 2013, the front page of The New York Times focused on a child who lived in the Auburn Family Residence, a homeless shelter in Brooklyn.

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U.S. Senator Mike Lee Introduces Bill to Protect Victims of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

October 2, 2022 - Washington, D.C. - Last week, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the PROTECT Act, which would require pornography sites to verify the age of all participants in pornographic images; require sites to obtain verified consent forms from individuals uploading content and those appearing in uploaded content; and mandate that websites quickly remove images upon receiving notice they uploaded without consent.

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Join us in congratulating the Vermilion County Child Advocacy Center on this tremendous accomplishment! 

The Vermilion County CAC has been awarded accreditation by the National Children's Alliance (NCA) following an extensive application and site review process. Accreditation is the highest level of membership with National Children’s Alliance and denotes excellence in service provision. These standards and their accompanying criteria ensure that children and families in our community receive effective, efficient, relevant, and compassionate services.


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The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois (CACI), a 501(c)(3) agency, is a statewide membership organization dedicated to helping communities, through local child advocacy centers (41 CACs in Illinois, serving all 102 counties), respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first.


Call the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE

(800-252-2873) if you suspect that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect. If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first.

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