What does it mean to be a nationally accredited Children’s Advocacy Center?


Hopeful Horizons’ Children’s Advocacy Center is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance to ensure that every child we see receives consistent, evidence-based services to help them heal from abuse. We go through a reaccreditation process every five years and we have spent much of 2022 preparing for the NCA Site Visit, which occurred this past week.


This photo shows the massive binder that our CAC Director, Billie Jo Godwin, put together for the site visit.


The collected National Standards of Accreditation for Children’s Advocacy Centers, comprising 10 individual standards and representing the work of more than 130 child abuse intervention professionals and experts working from the latest research, are the benchmarks by which Accredited Members of NCA are measured.


When police or child protective services believe a child may be experiencing abuse, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not retraumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview. CACs offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs.


The team at Hopeful Horizons works on a daily basis to ensure that we’re following the standards and abiding by the MDT and statewide child abuse response protocol. We are grateful to all of our partners in law enforcement and SC DSS for being part of the MDT and being committed to helping children heal from trauma.


We will hear back from the accreditation reviewers in January as to our status and we look forward to sharing good news about accreditation!


NCA's National Standards of Accreditation - National Children's Alliance (nationalchildrensalliance.org)

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