For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County Child Advocacy Center (Washoe County CAC) has been awarded accreditation by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) following an extensive application and site review process. As the accrediting agency for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) across the country, the NCA awards varying levels of accreditation and membership to centers that respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient and puts the needs of child victims of abuse first. The Washoe County CAC received the NCA’s highest level of accreditation, denoting excellence in service.
The National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is the national accrediting body for Child Advocacy Centers across the nation. Formed in 1988, the NCA provides technical support and sets quality assurance best practice standards for the 795 CACs throughout the United States. Collectively, these centers served over 300,000 children in 2015 and provide a child-friendly environment designed to assist prosecutors, law enforcement, advocates, child protection workers, as well as medical and mental health professionals in their mission to serve child victims of crime. The goal of the NCA is to promote the development of child advocacy centers and act as a voice for abused children everywhere.
The Washoe County CAC opened its doors in June of 2014 as a partnership between prosecutors, local law enforcement, advocates, child protection workers, as well as medical and mental health professionals. These professionals work together to form a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) whose mission is to ensure the health and safety of the child in a child-friendly environment. The MDT approach is designed to minimize trauma, provide advocacy and support effective investigations and prosecutions. Since opening, over 1000 forensic interviews of children have been conducted, a number that illustrates the need for such a center in our community. In 2015, the Washoe County CAC introduced on-site crisis counseling through grant funding. In 2016, over 600 counseling sessions were provided to children who were victims of abuse at no cost to their families. Successful prosecutions of child predators have increased substantially since its inception. In 2016, the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office secured 60 life sentences for child predators with the aid and participation of the Multidisciplinary team approach to these cases.
“The team of individuals and agencies dedicated to responding to child abuse in Washoe County make this accreditation possible. The Washoe County CAC recognizes the importance of accreditation and supporting the MDT approach to cases of child abuse. Accreditation not only validates the CAC’s proven effective approach to responding to allegations of child abuse, it also provides consistency across the child advocacy center movement as a whole,” said Nicole Hicks, Executive Director of the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center.
“The Washoe County CAC should be commended for its excellent work servicing victims of child abuse. As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, it is the goal of National Children Alliance that every victim of child abuse has access to high quality services that result from professional collaboration,” remarked by Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance. This accreditation recognizes the Washoe County CAC for its multidisciplinary approach to the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases that occur throughout Washoe County and outlining counties each year in a superb manner.
For more information about the Washoe County CAC and its NCA accreditation please visit our website: https://www.washoecounty.us/da/childadvocacycenter
National Children’s Alliance provides support and advocacy to its accredited membership, as well as numerous developing centers, multidisciplinary teams and child abuse professionals around the country, and the world. NCA provides accreditation opportunities, financial assistance, training, technical assistance, research and education to communities, child abuse professionals and children’s advocacy centers throughout the United States in support of child abuse intervention, advocacy and prevention. For more information please visit NCA’s website: www.nationalchildrensalliance.org
Washoe County CAC Partnering Agencies
Washoe County District Attorney’s Office
Reno Police Department
Sparks Police Department
Washoe County Sheriff’s Office
Washoe County Social Services
Washoe County School District Police
University of Nevada-Reno Police
Child Advocacy Medical Unit
Child Advocacy Therapy Unit