15th Judicial District Child Advocacy Center
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615-449-7975
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P.O. Box 1225 107 N Greenwood St
Lebanon, TN 37088
Organization Details

Statements

Mission

Our mission is 'To reduce the trauma of child abuse and facilitate the healing process.' This is accomplished by utilizing a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) method of abuse investigation. To reduce the trauma of child abuse a child is interviewed one time by a trained forensic interviewer. The child is interviewed in a child-friendly environment which also helps to reduce the trauma to the child.

Background

The concept of a Child Advocacy Center began in Huntsville, Alabama by an Assistant District Attorney, Bud Cramer, who was frustrated by the inefficiency of child abuse investigations. Now, Child Advocacy Centers around the world serve physically and sexually abused children. They are designed to streamline the investigation of child abuse cases while reducing the stress on the child. In the past, if there was alleged child abuse, the child would have to tell the abuse story to numerous agencies such as law enforcement, Department of Children's Services (DCS), the Assistant District Attorney (ADA), health care providers and any others assigned to the case. At a Child Advocacy Center the child tells their story one time to a trained forensic interviewer while a multi-disciplinary team watches the interview in another room, via close-circuit television. The team may be comprised of the ADA, DCS, law enforcement and others involved in the case. The interview is recorded so team members may review, if needed. The CAC interview process greatly reduces the trauma on the child. In addition to interviewing abused children, the CAC refers victims for counseling and provides community education. The 15th Judicial District CAC was started by a group of concerned citizens in Wilson County. It has been in operation since 2008, serving Wilson, Trousdale, Smith, Macon and Jackson Counties. In 2009 an executive director was hired. During 2010, the goal was to create awareness in the community about the CAC and the services it provides. In 2014 a full time forensic interviewer was hired and in 2018 a family advocate was hired. Currently, the CAC provides forensic interviews to children from all five counties in the 15th Judicial District, has an active multidisciplinary team that meets monthly to review cases. The family advocate works with the children and non offending parents/guardians to assure they receive the appropriate services. The CAC also provides community education through Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children training.

Impact

Accomplishments: (1)The CAC has educated over 2100 adults in in the last 8 years on how to react, respond and protect children from sexual abuse through Stewards of Children training. For every adult trained in Stewards of Children, ten children are better protected, this translates to better protecting over 21,000 children. The CAC continues Stewards of Children training in Wilson, Macon, Smith & Jackson Counties. The CAC has informed an additional 486 adults about child sexual abuse using Prevent Now and supplemental Stewards of Children training. These adults are teachers, counselors, day care workers, health care workers, church volunteers and numerous other concerned adults in the community. (2) The CAC partnered with Cumberland University to present the 4th Annual Child Abuse Awareness Panel providing insight into the working partnerships of the CAC and survivor stories. (3) The CAC held it's Tenth Annual Chocolate Affair fundraiser at the Capitol Theater, Lebanon, featuring a Broadway musical, dinner, silent/live auction and chocolate fountain, it was our most successful fundraiser to date. (4) The CAC continues to plant a pinwheel garden in Lebanon & Mt. Juliet each April for Child Abuse Prevention Month. The pinwheels represent the children served the previous year, in 2019 there were 306 children who received forensic interviews. (4) The CAC partners with local mental health organizations and schools to promote child safety.

Needs

The CAC needs continuous donations from the community to support children who have been victimized. The CAC has recently moved into a beautiful two story brick home in Lebanon. This is home is very child friendly and welcoming to all children who come here. The CAC is in the process of purchasing this home for permanent place for the CAC. There is also needs for food and living expenses for families who come through the CAC. Many times children who come for interviews are hungry or lack coats or certain clothing items. These are always in need at the CAC. Children who come to the CAC also get to use playdoh and drawing supplies while they participate in the interview. These items always run low and are constantly being restocked at the cost of the CAC.

CEO Statement

The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) serves children when allegations of severe physical and sexual abuse have been reported but also works diligently in the community to prevent child abuse. Since preventive education is a proven tool for reducing child abuse, the CAC is making every effort to offer education to the community through Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children, a program that educates adults on how to react, respond and report child sexual abuse. Our goal is to educate 5% of the population of the 15th Judicial District in the next five years. The CAC staff is also providing community partners with information on how the CAC works and the services offered. We are working to reduce the statistic that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by age 18 (Darkness to Light)


Service Categories

Primary Category: Crime & Legal - Related  - Child Abuse Prevention 
Secondary Category: Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy  - Children's Rights 
Tertiary Category: Public & Societal Benefit  - Alliances & Advocacy 

Areas Served

We serve all children that have been severely physically and sexually abused in Wilson, Trousdale, Smith, Macon and Jackson Counties of Tennessee. There are no specific areas. Our Child Advocacy Center is physically located in Lebanon, Tennessee.

TN - Jackson
TN - Macon
TN - Smith
TN - Trousdale
TN - Wilson