Programs and Services
Our facility offers a comfortable and safe environment for victims and their non-offending caregivers. We provide a safe place, where all involved agencies can interact with the child and conduct investigative forensic interviews in a manner that does not further traumatize the child.
What is a forensic interview?
A forensic interview is the interviewing of a child after a report of severe abuse, neglect or drug endangerment. If such an issue is reported to the statewide hotline, police, or the Department of Children’s Services and is determined to be severe, the child and his/her family or non-offending caregivers are most often brought to the Coffee County Children’s Advocacy Center. The forensic interview then takes place at center. This interview is recorded on video and can later be used as evidence if needed. This ideally allows the child to have to tell his/her story only once. Repeated interviews of children who have been victims of severe abuse or neglect may lead to more trauma. Our goal is to make this process as comfortable for children as possible and to make this the only interview of the child that is necessary.
Family Advocacy Services
Our family advocate works with victims and the non-offending caregivers to make sure they have resources that they may need. Our family advocate supports families by linking the families up with appropriate mental health and medical services, providing support groups to non-offending caregivers, and helping the family identify other resources that they may need. Our family advocate is also usually the first person the family has contact with at the center and walks them through what will happen while they are at the center. If appropriate, she also provides the families with information on how to file for victims compensation.
We have a prevention coordinator who is responsible for developing programs in the schools, day cares and at community events. Our prevention coordinator uses the program Child Safety Matters from the Monique Burr Foundation. This program is a comprehensive, evidence-based curriculum for elementary school students in grades K-5. The program educates and empowers children and all relevant adults with information and strategies to prevent, recognize, and respond appropriately to bullying, cyber-bullying, all types of abuse, and digital abuse dangers. Our prevention coordinator also works with professionals in the schools to make sure that they understand the reporting requirements if a child tells the teacher or similar professional about being abused. Education is the key to prevention and as we grow, we hope to develop this program even more.
Mental Health Services
Thanks to a grant from Baptist Healing Trust, we offer child victims free trauma focused mental health services on site. Therapy is provided by a licensed therapist who is trained specifically to work with children and families who have experienced trauma.
Through a partnership with Our Kids, the center serves as a satellite clinic of Our Kids. The clinic operates two days per month and is available to children in Coffee and surrounding counties.