Great Circle’s Ozark Foothills Child Advocacy Center (CAC) provides compassionate forensic interviewing and examinations in alleged child/sexual abuse situations. The CAC also provides advocacy and support to child victims and non-offending parents/caregivers, and referrals to mental health counseling.
Combatting Child Abuse
No child should have to experience physical or sexual abuse. Yet, in Missouri, there are more than 68,000 cases of such abuse reported each year.
The Ozark Foothills CAC is one of 16 centers in Missouri established by state statute to serve children who have been victimized or witnessed alleged sexual abuse. The CAC provides a safe environment to help children receive help and support when abuse happens. It works with reported cases in nine southeast Missouri counties – Butler, Carter, Iron, Oregon, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, Stoddard and Wayne.
Operating since 2003, it is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance, which is the primary accrediting agency for children’s advocacy centers across the country.
Great Circle’s specially trained staff conduct about 200 interviews and child assessments each year. The staff works with local law enforcement and healthcare professionals as needed.
The CAC staff provides:
- Compassionate, trauma-focused interviews and examinations in a child-friendly setting. The focus is on gathering facts, evidence and information about the alleged incident in an age-appropriate way.
- Direct and indirect advocacy help and support to both child victims and non-offending parents and caregivers.
- Referrals to SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exams) appointments.
- Referrals to mental health counseling.
- Assistance to local law enforcement as needed. This includes providing information that could be used during legal proceedings, or helping the child or family navigate legal issues.
All CAC services and information is kept strictly confidential.
The CAC staff includes forensic interviewers and child/family advocates, specially trained to provide guidance and support for both the child and family during a difficult time.
Forensic interviewers have completed rigorous course work, shadowed trained interviewers, and successfully conducted mock interviews. Advocates have completed their rigorous training and earned national certification. All staff is required to undergo additional training each year.
The Ozark Foothills CAC’s current staff has an average of seven years of experience working with children and families.