York County Children's Advocacy Center - What Services We Provide
What Services We Provide
Why is the York County Children's Advocacy Center needed?
Prior to the opening of the Children's Advocacy Center, an abused child was subjected to multiple forensic interviews in various agency settings during the information gathering process, including a possible medical exam. The child may have been taken to the hospital or doctor's office, the police department, a social worker or attorney's office.
Imagine the child's overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety as he or she was shuffled between agencies, surrounded by adults inquiring about the details of the traumatic event. During each interview, the victim was asked to retell his/her story, vividly reliving the pain and confusion surrounding the experience. While the information and data gathered was necessary for the case, the old system further victimized the child and potentially corrupted the information needed for prosecution.
Now imagine a child-friendly, safe house, where the child feels secure in a non-threatening environment; a house where the child only has to go through one interview and one physical exam (if necessary). That child-friendly, safe house is the York County Children's Advocacy Center.
A Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Investigation is the core component of York
County's response to allegations of child abuse. The Children's Advocacy Center
facilitates an MDT response to allegations of child abuse. The MDT creates a
prompt, sensitive, thorough, interagency response to reports of alleged child
sexual abuse and serious physical abuse as well as child witnesses to violence.
The MDT also provides extensive supportive and follow-up services to children
and their families.
Each person and agency on the MDT is dedicated to providing complete and
effective services to children and their families.
The York County Children's Advocacy Center's Multidisciplinary Team includes:
brings together team members and schedules forensic
interviews of children when they are conducted as part of an investigation and
facilitates case review meetings. The Children's Advocacy Center Team
Coordinator is also a trained Forensic Interviewer.
Law Enforcement Officers
police detectives are assigned to investigate
reports of child abuse. They are responsible for collecting evidence,
interviewing witnesses and alleged perpetrators, making arrests when appropriate
and helping to ensure the child and family's safety.
Assistant District Attorneys
the prosecutor decides whether someone
should be charged with a crime and then presents evidence in court ot a judge
are based out of the office of the District
Attorney. They communicate between the child and family and the MDT. The
Victim/Witness Coordinators are a primary contact for the family throughout
their case, providing information about victim rights, addressing safety
concerns, providing referral information and helping the family through the
have specialized training in conducting
interviews of children who may have been abused or witnessed serious crimes.
They speak with children about their experience to find out if abuse occurred.
The rest of the MDT observes from behind a one-way mirror. The interviewer's
training and skill ensures that reliable information is elicited from the child
in a legally, clinically and culturally sound manner.
York County Office of Children Youth & Families
social workers have the primary mandate of
ensuring the safety of children in an environment free from abuse and neglect,
while preserving family life when possible. York County Office of Children Youth & Families is able
to provide on-going support to families when necessary.
Mental Health Consultants
therapists from the Victim Assistance Center,
a program of the YWCA, and case managers from York/Adams Mental Health and
Mental Retardation assist the team in identifying services that will be helpful
for the child and family.
specially-trained Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners
(SAFE) are available at the Children's Advocacy Center and York Hospital to
conduct medical evaluations, consult with families and collect forensic evidence
Services Provided by the York County Children's Advocacy Center
When allegations of child abuse and neglect are made, it is important to quickly
determine the validity of each allegation. Talking with a child is often the
first stop for most investigations in to allegations of child abuse and neglect.
The York County Children's Advocacy Center strives to minimize the number of
times a child has to give his or her statement regarding allegations of abuse.
The York County Children's Advocacy Center works with the MDT on most cases to
schedule a single interview with a Forensic Interviewer at our Center. Our
forensic interviewer is specially trained to conduct a neutral, non-leading and
well-documented interview in a child-focused manner. The MDT observes the
interview from behind a one-way mirror, which permits the team to
collaboratively work together to meet each child's unique needs.
Forensic Medical Exams
After a disclosure or concern of sexual abuse, it is important for a child to
be seen by a medical professional who has special training in the medical
examination of abused children. The York County Children's' Advocacy Center
offers non-emergency medical evaluations in our child-friendly examination room.
The exam will help:
- To ensure the health and well-being of the child
- To reassure the child and family that everything is okay with his/her
- To further help link the child and family to other necessary services
After the exam, the results will be shared with the family and child in an
Victim Assistance Center: A program of the YWCA
The mission of the York County Victim Assistance Center is to provide crisis
intervention, information, advocacy and ongoing counseling and support to the
people of York County who are victims of sexual violence or other violent
crimes; to advocate for change in the community and criminal justice system when
in the best interest of assault and crime victims; and to work towards the
prevention of violent crimes through education and coordination of service with
other community organizations. For additional information about this