Concerns of abuse and neglect should be reported to law enforcement and /or child protection in your community. Children’s Advocacy Centers will not accept direct referrals from guardians or community members. If you suspect child abuse, contact local law enforcement and/or SD Child Protective Services at 877-244-0864. For more information, please visit the South Dakota Child Protective Services Website
A Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is a safe, child-focused environment tied together by community agencies and professionals who work together to provide comprehensive services to abused children and their families. When efforts are coordinated by a CAC, team members can provide services to children and their non-offending guardians in an informative, non-traumatic approach. For more information on the CAC model, please visit the National Children’s Alliance website.
Under the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) model, a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) works together in a coordinated manner to ensure an effective response to reports of child abuse and neglect, including the following collaborative disciplines: law enforcement, child protective services, mental health, medical health, prosecution, and victim advocacy.
Without Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), a child who has experienced abuse may end up having to retell their experience over and over again to doctors, law enforcement, lawyers, therapists, judges, and more. They may be asked questions in a way that makes them feel like they are in trouble, or be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning adult that could hurt their case against an abuser. Instead, the CAC Model coordinates the efforts of multiple groups in order to minimize trauma to the child and provide a coordinated response to each case.
There is never a cost to families associated with services they receive at a Children’s Advocacy Center.