Governor’s Task Force Recomemmendations

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NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Alison Gray, M.S.
Director, PA Chapter of CACs and MDTs
814-431-8151
AlisonGray@neo.rr.com

Governor’s Task Force on Child Protection Recommends All Children in Pennsylvania Have Access to Child Advocacy Centers


Harrisburg, PA – November 27, 2012 – Following almost a full year of statewide hearings and testimony from professionals on the front lines of child abuse issues in Pennsylvania, the Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse Prevention released its report today with recommendations to implement changes in state policies and procedures relating to the prevention, reporting, intervention and investigation of child abuse cases in Pennsylvania. The report recommends that every child in Pennsylvania have access to the resources of a child advocacy center. The report specifically emphasizes the need to expand the network of Child Advocacy Centers (CAC) in Pennsylvania so that a CAC is accessible within a two-hour drive of every child within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The report also recognizes the value of Pennsylvania’s existing CACs and the need to ensure their sustainability through financial support. While other states across the United States provide significant financial support to their child advocacy centers, recognizing the critical role CACs provide in a community’s response to child abuse, Pennsylvania CACs do not receive any direct state funding. The report strongly recommends that Pennsylvania join these other states and provide financial resources to support both the 21 existing CACs from Erie to Philadelphia which have been serving children without any state funding, as well as the new CACs that must be developed to ensure equal access by child victims across the Commonwealth.
“We are thrilled that the Task Force recognizes the value of our child advocacy centers and the deficit of these centers across Pennsylvania. The problem is the lack of dedicated funding has prevented children’s advocacy center services from being available to all of Pennsylvania’s children,” said Abbie Newman, President of the PA Chapter of CACs and Multidisciplinary Teams, and executive director of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County. “Child advocacy centers ease stress on victims while leading to better outcomes for police, prosecutors and social-service workers through collaboration. The facility simplifies the interviewing process so that these children avoid multiple interviews in settings such as police stations that can be intimidating to a child.”
Providing a multidisciplinary team approach to child abuse, and easing the criminal justice system for child abuse victims, CACs focus on helping abused children move towards healing. In communities with CACs, the investigative process is streamlined by allowing child victims to tell their stories to a trained interviewer in a child-friendly environment while police, prosecutors, and social workers observe. However, in 42 out of 67 Counties in the Commonwealth of PA, child victims are still without access to a child advocacy center and must relive their abuse on multiple occasions in separate interviews.
According to Alison Gray, Director of the PA Chapter of CACs, “The only way to stop child abuse is with collaborative community action and awareness, and the Task Force recommendations fostering the development of CACs is the first big step to the beginning of the end.”
For information contact: Alison Gray, PA Chapter Director, atalisongray@neo.rr .com"> alisongray@neo.rr .com, or go to www.penncac.org.

 

 

 

 

 

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