The Caring House opened their Child Advocacy Center (CAC) services in 2019. The Caring House CAC was established to provide a safe, neutral and child friendly environment for children and their families during child abuse and neglect investigations.
The CAC enhances the coordinated team response already in use in our communities. This is a location where agencies responsible for investigating child abuse and neglect can refer a child. We provide a developmentally appropriate service to children while also supporting non-offending caregivers. These practices create standardization in how cases are managed and give families the support they need to navigate an often difficult system.
When law enforcement, child protective services or the prosecutor’s office has reason to believe a child has been abused, they make a forensic interview request to the CAC. The goal of this interview is to obtain a statement once from a child in a developmentally sensitive, unbiased, and truth-seeking manner that will support accurate and fair decision making in the criminal justice and child welfare systems. We conduct an audio and video recorded interview and share the information with the systems to ensure they have the knowledge to make quality decisions that will keep children safe. Best practices tell us that conducting only one recorded forensic interview of a child by a trained forensic interviewer in a safe environment can help minimize trauma to a child, as well as minimize contamination to the interview and the case. This process also provides support for the child and family for as long as they need by coordinating and providing wraparound services to them.
A Forensic Interview is a developmentally sensitive, unbiased, and truth-seeking interview of a child conducted by a trained forensic interviewer utilizing either the Michigan Forensic Interviewing Protocol or the Wisconsin Forensic Interviewing Guidelines.
CAC advocacy services include child and caregiver support during the forensic interview appointment and beyond. Our advocates assist with safety assessment and safety planning, forensic medical exam accompaniment, needs assessment and referral assistance (housing, medical, etc), relevant transportation (legal, medical), legal advocacy (PPO or TRO assistance) and court accompaniment.
The CAC provides a safe place for children and their families to begin the healing process after experiencing child physical or sexual abuse. Our team has a master’s level licensed therapist who provides confidential, evidence-based, trauma-informed therapy. Since the trauma of abuse affects the whole family, our services are provided at no cost to each sibling and their non-offending caregivers.
Who We Serve
Dickinson County, MI
Iron County, MI
Florence County, WI
Marinette County, WI
We can conduct courtesy interviews for other jurisdictions or make appropriate referrals on a case-by-case basis.
All services are free. Families that have been served at the CAC are eligible for Caring House services as well.
What to Expect When Bringing a Child for an Interview
An advocate will call you before the interview to explain the process to you. Members of the investigative team will be on hand the day of the appointment to answer additional questions that develop.
What should I tell my child about the upcoming interview?
It is recommended that you do not try to obtain additional details from your child. That is what the forensic interview is for. If you find they are talking about the disclosure, it is best to listen but do not continue to ask questions.
You can thank them for telling you and let them know they will be going to the center to talk to a “nice person, or a safe person” about what they told you. We never want to mislead them about what they are going to do.
If they are worried about knowing what to say, inform them to just always tell the truth. Let them know that many kids come to the center to talk about important things that might have happened to them. It is okay to tell that safe person everything, and they are not in any trouble.
WORKING TOWARD NCA ACCREDITATION
The Caring House Child Advocacy Center is working towards becoming an accredited member of the National Children's Alliance. The Agency is receiving VOCA assistance to enhance our ability to become federally accredited.
How CACs Help Kids:
MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS (MDT)
Child Advocacy Centers were created to serve the needs of victims of child abuse and their families at a centralized location. It is a child friendly space where children, teens and their caregivers come to receive specialized services and support throughout a child maltreatment investigation. These specialized services are provided by a team of professionals known as a multidisciplinary team.
The team can include:
Child Protective Services
Forensic Medical Examiners
Mental Health Services
The goal of an MDT is to collect evidence using research informed, developmentally appropriate and legally sound practices while minimizing the effects of trauma.
ONLINE OR BY MAIL
Donate online at your leisure or sign up for a monthly subscription by going to our donation page
To donate by check via regular mail, please make it payable to Caring House Child Advocacy Center
All mail accepted at:
1305 South Prospect Ave, Iron Mountain, MI 49801
Gift certificates to grocery and clothing stores assist clients in caring for their families
For the Children:
New toys & games for all ages/gender
Coloring books, crayons, other art/craft supplies
New or gently used books for all ages/interests (great need for teen & tween books)
New hats & mittens
Walmart gift cards to purchase sized items for kids in need (such as shoes/coat)
For the Center:
Walmart gift cards to purchase needed center supplies & clothing, etc. for families
Many employers will match the contributions of their employees
Shop on Amazon Smile and Amazon will make a donation to us
Some people have service-oriented businesses that provide help at no or low cost to our clients, your creative ideas are welcome!