Orange County celebrated the opening of its Orange County Child Advocacy Center (OCCAC) on Friday, April 23.
Child advocacy centers bring child protective services, law enforcement, medical providers, advocacy, and therapeutic resources together when allegations of child abuse or maltreatment are made to make the investigation process less traumatic for children.
“Children are some of the most vulnerable victims of crime and the Child Advocacy Center provides the county with another resource to assist them and their families during what is a time of great need,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus. “The center will ensure that victims receive the services that they need, which will help them recover and heal. I commend Commissioner of Social Services Darcie Miller and her staff for working diligently with the state to bring the center to Orange County.”
‘No more important work’
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler added: “There is no more important work than protecting and helping children who have been the victims of crime. The best way to do that is through the type of coordinated multidisciplinary approach that this Child Advocacy Center is designed to provide. I am proud to join with our law enforcement and treatment partners in ensuring that child victims are supported and protected. Those who harm children deserve severe punishment and this center will provide additional tools to bring those who prey upon children to justice.”
An array of services in a safe venue
The mission of the OCCAC, located at 30 Matthews St. in Goshen, is to provide a safe venue for child victims and their families, where they can receive an array of services during the investigative phase of a sexual and/or physical abuse allegations, and to minimize trauma to child victims and their non-offending caregivers by conducting trauma informed forensic interviews and providing advocacy and referrals to needed services.
OCCAC staff will also help victims to develop an action plan to keep children safe from their alleged abuser and help gather sufficient, legally sound evidence to successfully adjudicate and prosecute perpetrators.
“The foundation of the work that we do across the county with our multiple partners is work to provide children with a safe, trauma-free environment to thrive and succeed,” Miller said. “When children are the victims of crime, they deserve a child friendly location with trained and compassionate workforce to investigate, support, and lead them to a path for healing. I want to thank the Department of Social Services Child Welfare staff who through their dedication and efforts have helped to facilitate the opening of our OCCAC.”
Child Advocacy Centers serve more than 24,000 children each year in the state, providing critical access to services and support in response to traumatic events for children and their families, such as physical and sexual abuse.
For more information about the OCCAC, call Coordinator Dana Newman, LMSW, at 845-291-2839, or email email@example.com.