- 4,571 children told their story of abuse
- Over 43,717 Louisiana citizens were educated on keeping children safe
- Over 60,000 hours of service to children
- 7,537 child victims served
- All 64 parishes served
Research shows the benefits of CACs over traditional investigations:
- Children served by a CAC are three times more likely to receive mental health services
- Children served by a CAC are twice as likely to receive a forensic medical exam
- Investigators are more efficiently coordinated in communities served by a CAC - saving valuable taxpayer money and ensuring better outcomes for children
Articles 523 and 524 of the Louisiana Children’s Code provide for the governance and responsibilities of CACs.
B. A child advocacy center shall be governed and managed so as to provide at a minimum, for the following:
- A comfortable, private setting that is both physically and psychologically safe for children.
- Sound program, fiscal and administrative practices.
- Policies, practices and procedures that are culturally competent. Cultural competency is defined as the capacity to function in more than one culture, requiring the ability to appreciate, understand and interact with members of diverse populations within the local community.
- A multidisciplinary investigative team in accordance with article 522 of this Title that is diverse and expert.
- A written set of interagency protocols for an interdisciplinary and coordinated approach to the investigation of child abuse in accordance with Articles 510, 512, and 522 of this Title.
- Compliance with Article 511 of this Title and other policies, practices and procedures that require forensic interviews to be conducted in a manner which is neutral and fact-finding and coordinated to avoid duplicative interviewing.
- Specialized medical evaluations and treatment as part of the multidisciplinary investigative team response, either at the center or through coordination with and referral to other appropriate treatment providers
- Specialized mental health services as part of the multidisciplinary investigative team response, either at the center or through coordination with and referral to other appropriate treatment providers.
- Victim support and advocacy as part of the multidisciplinary investigative team response, either at the center or through coordination with and referral to other appropriate treatment providers.
- A routine interdisciplinary case review process for purposes of decision making, problem solving, systems coordination and information sharing concerning case status and services needed by the child and family.
- A comprehensive tracking system for monitoring case process and tracking case outcomes for team members consistent with ensuring confidentiality in accordance with Article 525 of this Title.
- A process for evaluating its effectiveness and its operations.
C. In addition, a center may provide space for medical evaluation, therapeutic intervention, support services for child abuse victims and their families, and community education about child abuse. It may also provide specialized interdisciplinary training for professionals involved with child abuse victims and their families and provide any other assistance or service by the centers board. Acts 2003, No. 749, §1.
The National Children's Advocacy Center (NCAC) recently conducted a cost-benefit analysis of child-abuse investigations in a county that uses the CACs multi-disciplinary team approach and a county that uses traditional joint investigations by child protection and law enforcement agencies. NCAC found that:
- The average cost of a CAC investigation was about $1000 less than for a non-CAC investigation (a 36% savings on a case-by-case basis).
- Even with only an operations budget 45% greater than investigation costs, the caseload processed by the CAC team was 202% higher than that in the non-CAC community
To learn more about study findings, please visit the National Children's Advocacy Centers website.