Q: How does the CPC support children?
A: At the CPC, the child is our first priority. All of the services and programs offered are designed to meet the needs of the child first. We accommodate children in ways such as letting children explore the center, scheduling interviews around their daily routines, and offering a safe, protected place that is child-friendly.
Q: How many times will a child be interviewed about the abuse?
A: One of the main goals of the CPC is to reduce trauma to children during an investigation. Research has shown that children can re-experience the trauma of abuse every time they talk about it. We work to minimize the number of in-depth interviews a child must have. Police, DCFS and CACD may ask basic questions to assure the child’s safety. In most cases, a child will be interviewed only once with a professional interviewer.
Q: Does the CPC work for DCFS or the police?
A: No. The CPC works for your child and your family. DCFS and local police make appointments with the CPC after a child abuse report is made to the Child Abuse Hotline. Once an appointment has been made, the CPC works with all the agencies involved to address the needs of the child and the investigation. The CPC is a part of a team approach, but is an independent non-profit agency.
Q: Do children or families stay at the CPC?
A: No. The CPC is not a shelter. However, the CPC works with several shelters and helps children and their families access these resources if they are needed. In those cases in which a child has been removed from his or her home, DCFS will arrange accommodation.
Q: What does the Family Advocate do at the CPC?
A: The Family Advocate helps the child and family address their unique needs. She helps the family create a plan of action. After the visit to the CPC, the Family Advocate follows up with the family to inquire about any progress, concerns, questions or other needs.
Q: What is involved in a forensic interview?
A: Forensic interviews are conducted an interviewer trained in a wide spectrum of areas related to childhood development, sexual abuse dynamics, and other pertinent issues. Children are never forced to talk. The CPC has a full-time forensic interviewer who works closely with investigative agencies.
Q: How do children come to the CPC?
A: Last year the CPC saw roughly 300 children and their families come to our center. Only children who have been referred through DCFS, CACD or local law enforcement come to the CPC.
Q: Is there a charge for CPC services?
A: No. The CPC is a non-profit organization. Our center depends on grants and contributions from our community to provide on-site services free of charge. In some cases, referral agencies may require payment, but our Family Advocate works with the families and those agencies to make the best possible arrangement.
Q: Are medical exams performed at the CPC?
A: No, medical exams are not performed on site. However, we work closely with the Arkansas Children’s House, which is located two blocks from our center. The medical staff at Arkansas Children’s House specialize in the evaluation of sexually abused children.
Q: Does the CPC work only with sexual abuse cases?
A: No. While most of the cases that come to the CPC deal with sexual abuse, we also work with police and DCFS on physical abuse cases.