Frequently Asked Questions…

Q:   How does a child get referred to the Child Advocacy Center (CAC)?
A:   Children come to the CAC only after we receive police report and/or Department of Children and Family Services report alleging child abuse and/or severe physical abuse.  After receiving a report, the Center staff will contact parents or guardians as well as multidisciplinary team members to schedule an interview.

Q:  What happens when a child arrives at the Center?
A:  The Center staff greets the child and his/her family members at the child-focused facility.  Since interviews are audio and video recorded, forms must be signed acknowledging the recording to start the interview.  The child will be interviewed and parents will be given referrals relevant to the child and family’s needs.

Q:   Who conducts the interview and how does it take place?
A:  One member of the multidisciplinary team will be designated to conduct the interview.  Interviewers have received specialized training in how to interview child victims.  The forensic interview takes place in a child-focused comfortable room.  The remaining members of the team view the interview on closed-circuit TV and through one-way glass.

Q:  Are parents or guardians allowed to watch the interview or sit with the child?
A:  No, parents or family members are not allowed to view the interview.  The interview is part of an investigation and anyone viewing the interview could be served by a court subpoena.  As a result, only law enforcement, a representative from the States Attorney’s Office, DCFS (if warranted) and possibly a member of the CAC staff are allowed to observe.

Q:  What happens after the interview is over?
A:  Law enforcement, Center staff, and DCFS (if involved) will meet with parents and inform them as to how the investigation will proceed.  The services provided by the CAC do not end when families leave the Center.  Our advocates will remain in touch with clients in order to keep them informed about the progress of the case, access needed services and/or assist in legal proceedings that may arise in the course of the investigation.

Q:  What should I do if I think a child is being abused?
A:  To report suspected child abuse in Illinois, call your local police department and 1-800-25-ABUSE.  (1-800-252-2873). If the incident occurred in a different state, call the child protective services for that state.

Q:  How is the CAC funded?
A:  Funding for the CAC is provided through various grants, the United Way, and donations from individuals or corporations interested in assisting us in helping child abuse victims.  If you would like to donate to the CAC please click here to donate or visit our donate page.