The Madison County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) coordinates a multidisciplinary team that consists of professionals from the Child Advocacy Center, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, local law enforcement, the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, and professionals from the medical and mental health fields.
Child Advocacy Center
The CAC provides a child-friendly setting for the multidisciplinary investigation of child abuse cases; conducts victim sensitive forensic interviews by specially trained staff; provides referrals for treatment services, provides advocacy and support throughout the investigatory and judicial processes; and ensures comprehensive tracking of all data related to cases.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
DCFS is the state agency mandated to investigate reports of child abuse and neglect. DCFS protects the best interest of the child, offers protective services in order to prevent any further harm to the child and to other children in the family, stabilizes the home environment and preserves family life whenever possible. DCFS is responsible for investigating all reported cases of alleged child abuse or neglect where the alleged perpetrator is a parent, family member residing in the home, or other person in a care-taking role or a position of trust.
Law Enforcement is the entity established by law for the purpose of protecting communities through the vigorous enforcement of criminal law. Law enforcement seeks to protect children through an investigative process and presentation of evidence and information to the appropriate authorities.
Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office
The State’s Attorney’s Office is ultimately responsible for the coordination of child abuse and neglect cases and seeks justice through the prosecution of offenders and the protection of children through provisions established by the State of Illinois. The State’s Attorney’s Office provides legal consultation as needed and provides leadership and group facilitation during multidisciplinary meetings.
Medical personnel provide consultation related to medical records, evaluations and referrals. When appropriate, the victim may be referred for medical treatment including a medical evaluation by a physician specially trained to examine children in cases of child abuse.
Mental health personnel provide consultation related to mental health and developmental needs of the alleged child victim and non-offending family members. Mental health and treatment agencies provide evaluation and counseling to victims and non-offending family members and make recommendations for treatment where appropriate.
Multidisciplinary team interventions, particularly when provided in a neutral, child-focused setting, are associated with less anxiety, fewer interviews, increased support and more appropriate and timely referrals for needed services.