Child Advocacy Center earns re-accreditation

Five years ago, Chester County became the only prosecution-based, accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance in Pennsylvania, a distinction that continues.

Members of the Chester County District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit – Detective Sgt. David Sassa (from left), Detective Kristin Lund, Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ryan, Detective James Ciliberto, Assistant District Attorney Emily Provencher, Detective Gerald Davis, Assistant District Attorney Megan King, and District Attorney Tom Hogan – display the re-accreditation.

Members of the Chester County District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit – Detective Sgt. David Sassa (from left), Detective Kristin Lund, Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ryan, Detective James Ciliberto, Assistant District Attorney Emily Provencher, Detective Gerald Davis, Assistant District Attorney Megan King, and District Attorney Tom Hogan – display the re-accreditation.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced on Tuesday, Nov. 17, that the Chester County Child Advocacy Center has received re-accreditation for another five-year term. The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is the organization and location within the District Attorney’s Office that coordinates child-abuse cases, employing a sensitive, multi-disciplinary approach to young victims.

In a press release, Hogan explained that the center aims to reduce the trauma that can be inflicted on abused children in the judicial system by providing a child-friendly environment and comprehensive resources. The surroundings help minimize the stress for the children, who are often needed to recount painful, horrific details to investigators.

“In Chester County, we protect our children,” said Hogan in the release.  “Chester County is at the forefront of investigating and prosecuting child abuse.  Our Child Abuse Unit is dedicated to bringing those who would hurt a child to justice.  The Child Advocacy Center is a tremendous resource, helping us to catch the monsters who abuse children, while protecting and healing the children who have been hurt.”

In the letter notifying Chester County of its renewed accreditation, the National Children’s Alliance Board of Directors noted that the county’s “hard work and commitment of your community” had been validated.

At the CAC, children are interviewed by forensic interviewers specially trained in speaking with young victims of abuse.  It contains a relaxed waiting area for family members while children are being interviewed and also features state-of-the-art technology, such as audio-visual recording systems and a smart board that can be used by kids during interviews.

Conducting interviews of child victims in the CAC allows the children to be interviewed once, rather than being subjected to multiple questionings by different agencies.  The CAC also has a multi-disciplinary staff who can address all of the needs of child victims, including medical, psychological, and familial concerns.

The multi-disciplinary team includes prosecutors and detectives as well as representatives from the Chester County Children, Youth and Families Department, the Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, the Chester County Adult and Juvenile Probation Offices, and municipal police departments. Mental health professionals and health-care providers who specialize in child-abuse investigation, including Dr. Maria McColgan from St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, are also part of the team.

Accreditation by the National Children’s Alliance brings with it grant money and training opportunities, the release said.

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ryan, the head of the District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit, said the county relies on a team of dedicated professionals to prosecute child-abusers. “The Child Advocacy Center allows us to work together to protect these children, using experts in every field, from criminal investigations to medical services to psychological counseling,” she said in the release.

 

 

About CFLive Staff

See Contributors Page http://chaddsfordlive.com/writers/

Comments

comments

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...
 

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.