1 in 10 Children in our nation will experience child sexual abuse before the age of 18.
The average length of time an abusive relationship lasts one to four years. Child sexual abuse is seldom a one-time occurrence. Many abusive relationships last much longer than 4 years.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan serves children from 3 to 18 years old. Developmentally disabled adults may also participate in the forensic interview process, and adult survivors of child sexual abuse may participate in crisis counseling services as well as ongoing therapy.
There are ten staff members at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan.
- 2 Forensic Interviewers and 2 Therapists, holding master’s level degrees in social work.
- 1 Prevention & Outreach Specialist
- 2 Family Advocates with backgrounds in child development and trained in crisis counseling.
- 1 child care and office administrator.
- 1 intern, a second year student pursuing a master’s degree in social work.
- 1 Executive Director with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in health systems management.
90% of offenders are known to the child.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan serves approximately 500 clients annually.
There is zero cost to individuals receiving services provided by the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan.
By using the collaborative approach of a Children’s Advocacy Center, approximately $1000 per child victim is being saved for each investigation. Everyone on the multidisciplinary team comes together for the forensic interview, debriefing afterwards. The team manages the case and conducts a monthly case review to ensure the case is moving forward. Less repetition of services means decreased trauma for the victim and a greater cost savings.
Each Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan staff member is required to take 24 hours of continuing education and training annually.
There are 38 accredited Child Assessment Centers (CAC) in Michigan. Not every county has a CAC; several counties have only very limited access. There are over 800 accredited CACs nationally. All organizations undergo a strict accreditation process and must be reaccredited every five years.
The average age for the onset of a sexually abusive relationship is 6 to 8 years. Reports of molestation of very young children are increasing; more than 1/3 of all child victims may be 5 years old or younger; children as young as one-week old have been molested.
80% of victims served by Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan live in Berrien County. We also help provide services to children from Cass and Van Buren Counties who do not have access to a Children’s Advocacy Center in their counties.
Child sexual abuse victims are located in 15 school districts. Abuse has no boundaries. Victims come from every school district, all socio-economic classes and all ethnic cultures.
18 law enforcement agencies in Berrien county participate with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan.