CCAC 2007 Grant Summary: 2006 – 2007

CCAC’s Professional Outreach Coordinator and its Forensic Interviewing Manager presenting at a workshop at the 22nd San Diego International Child Maltreatment Conference on January 31, 2008.

The Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center’s mission is to unite public, private and community partners to ensure the safety, health and well-being of abused children.  Since opening in 2001, the CCAC has served over 13,000 children reported to authorities for suspicions of sexual abuse and over 1,300 children for suspicions of severe physical abuse.   The Washington Square Health Foundation was one of the CCAC’s first private funders and has remained a valued partner in making certain that these children have access to the services they need to begin the healing process.

Based on its success in responding to cases of sexual and severe physical abuse, the CCAC is currently embarking on a major initiative to improve Chicago’s systemic response to all reports of child physical abuse.  Specifically, it is working to increase the capacity of the system to coordinate multidisciplinary investigations into these reports and provide greater support services for the children.

Thanks to a grant from the Washington Square Health Foundation, the CCAC implemented a new Professional Outreach Coordinator position in 2007.  This position reaches out to agencies, key community stakeholders, and professionals in the medical, law enforcement and child welfare fields about the complexities surrounding the investigative and treatment response to child abuse and the development of an improved multidisciplinary system.

The Professional Outreach Coordinator aims to create and foster mutual understanding, promote cooperation, and influence behaviors, attitudes, and actions between the CCAC and the other agencies that work closely with children.  The ultimate goal is to improve collaboration between agencies and professionals that work to help children during and after abuse allegations.  The Coordinator’s activities have helped to ensure that the CCAC is clearly presenting its mission, creating visibility of its programs to the community, and developing the partnerships that will be needed to successfully bring improved services to a greater number of children.

In 2007, the Professional Outreach Coordinator played a key role in the training of over 170 Chicago Police detectives, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigators, and hospital emergency response staff.  She is active in 7 community coalitions, has given tours of the CCAC to hundreds of people, and regularly visits hospitals and other community-based agencies for meetings, presentations and trainings.

For additional information about the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and its services, please visit www.ChicagoCAC.org.