History

Child advocacy centers were developed in the 1980s in response to the criticism that child sexual abuse investigations were just another form of abuse through system-induced traumas with repetitive interviews that were often frightening to children. The first CAC was developed in 1985 in Huntsville, AL by elected District Attorney, Robert E. “Bud” Cramer, Jr. The purpose of the CAC model was to improve community collaborative response to child sexual abuse and the criminal justice processing of these cases in such a way that would not further harm the children involved. Today, there are over 1000 CACs nationwide and in more than 34 countries around the world.

TreeTop Child Advocacy Center (CAC) was established in 2018 as the only non-profit organization that forensically interviews child victims of violence in the 5th Judicial District in Colorado.

By coordinating the response of agencies like law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors’ offices, advocates, mental health and medical professionals TreeTop help ensure that when a child discloses abuse, they are not re-victimized by the very systems designed to protect them. TreeTop help coordinate care and investigation from first report to conviction and beyond, while keeping the child at the center of everything the team does.

The Child Advocacy Center Model

The Child Advocacy Center Model is a research-supported approach that draws on the following three components:

  • Forensic Interviews: Recorded neutral conversations between a trained
    interviewer and the child that are child centered and non-leading.
  • Multidisciplinary Teams: Collaboration of professionals who combine their efforts to benefit the investigation and families
  • Victim Advocacy: Professionals trained to provide assistance to families through trauma-informed support and resourcesBy combing these three tools into one system, Child Advocacy Centers are able to increase productivity while also assuring that the victim is prioritized.