children's advocacy center
Child welfare and safety is our highest priority.
The main goal of the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is to provide support for child abuse victims, as well as ongoing support for their non-offending family members and/or guardians.
The CAC is a community-based, child-friendly facility that is used to aid in the investigations of child abuse. Potential child abuse victims are referred by local law enforcement or children’s protective services, where a non-leading, non-threatening forensic interview is conducted.
For more information, contact us.
Address: 125 E Pine St, Big Rapids, MI 49307
A forensic interview is a recorded interview that aims to gather specific information from a child who may have experienced abuse or witnessed violence.
It is conducted in a supportive manner by a Multi-Disciplinary Team, or MDT. These teams are made up of social services, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies, mental health services, medical services, and advocacy services.
Representatives from relevant agencies, such as law enforcement and child protective services, remotely observe these interviews as part of the investigation process.
Our Family Advocate provides ongoing support to every child and family who visits the center. This relationship extends beyond the initial visit and covers the entire investigation and court process.
The support may involve crisis counseling, referrals to sexual abuse treatment programs, medical examinations, access to community resources, and prevention education.
We also provide our clients with access to additional services provided at Eagle Village such as counseling, and other therapies.
What to Expect
Before the Visit
Typically, our Intake Coordinator will contact you to verify your appointment. They will guide you through the interview procedure, furnish you with our address and contact details, discuss how to prepare your child for the visit, and address any inquiries you may have.
Upon your arrival, you will receive a warm welcome at the entrance and be escorted to our Waiting Area where your child will be accompanied by a CAC staff member. From there, you will head to our Family Room. Here, you will have the chance to meet with our Family Advocate and complete consent forms.
Subsequently, you will have the opportunity to meet with the investigative team before your child’s interview. During this meeting, you will be introduced to the team and have an opportunity to address any questions or concerns you may have.
Following your meeting with the team, the Interviewer will accompany your child to our interview room for the interview. It is important to note that caregivers are not permitted to be present in the interview room or observe the interview. This is to ensure that the child feels comfortable sharing their story and providing important details without any potential influence from outside sources.
Additionally, caregivers may find it challenging to control their emotions while listening to their child talk about alleged abuse. Therefore, during this time, you will have the opportunity to meet with our Family Advocate who will equip you with education, resources, and provide support while you wait. Feel free to discuss any topic of your choice during this period.
Once your child has finished, they will be accompanied back to the Waiting Room. It will then be your chance to engage in a conversation with the team, where they will address any inquiries you may have and outline the subsequent actions to be taken in the investigation.
Following this, you will have another chance to communicate with the advocate if desired and finalize any suggested referrals to services, such as counseling or a medical examination. The team will devise a plan and proceed with their investigation, while our advocate will maintain regular contact with you in the coming weeks and throughout the investigation process to offer any additional support or referrals that you may require.
Danae | Child Advocacy Supervisor
“I do this work because I believe that every child deserves a safe place to tell their story, know they are believed, and feel empowered.”
Jaelyn | Child Advocacy Specialist
“Every family I come in contact with deserves to feel heard and be supported through a time where they feel most alone. Being a listening ear and a safe place when they haven’t had it is everything to them and to me. I do what I do because I am passionate in seeing the change in the communities we serve. I am passionate in the cause.”
Bethany | Child Advocacy Specialist
“This work gives me the opportunity to compassionately serve families in this community, share knowledge, equip others and guide victims of alleged abuse and their families toward a prosperous healing journey.”