About Indiana Child Advocacy Centers and the Indiana Chapter of NCA

The Indiana Chapter is not an investigative authority

We are not an investigative authority or designed to advise on cases, legal matters, or investigate allegations of child abuse. If you suspect abuse, call 911 in an emergency or call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.

About the Indiana Chapter of NCA

The Indiana Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance is committed to promoting the development, growth and sustainability continuation of children’s advocacy centers in the State of Indiana through education, training, mentoring, collaboration, advocacy, development of resources and legislation.

The Indiana Chapter is a member of the National Children’s Alliance.

About Indiana Child Advocacy Centers (CACs)

Tragedy occurs when children are abused, assaulted, or neglected. But tragic events can be made worse by the experience children have when proceeding through the court system. This is where Children’s Advocacy Centers(CACs) come in.

Indiana CACs provide forensic interviews, child-friendly environments to discuss what did or did not happen to them, victim advocacy, and family-focused healing.

What happens when abuse is reported without a CAC?

Upon notification of alleged child abuse or assault in Indiana, the Indiana Department of Child and Family Services(DCS) or law enforcement will begin an investigation: a caseworker may visit a home, or police may knock on a door as soon as they’re alerted.

When law enforcement is involved, a child is often taken to a local police station or sheriff’s office to describe abuse or assault they might have suffered. Being in jails — even in a separate conference room — often frightens children even more.

If a child talks to a police agency, they may have to tell their story again to a prosecutor, again to other investigating officers, again to caseworkers, and again to a judge and jury.

Father and toddler daughter in therapist office during counselling assessment meeting.
Child seated on couch

What Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) do

Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) seek to change the investigation process. CACs are child-focused organizations located in communities all across Indiana. At a CAC, children can be in a safe, friendly environment — one with toys, comfortable chairs, and friendly, caring adults trained to help them.

At a Children’s Advocacy Center, a child is interviewed by a trained forensic interviewer. This is why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers CACs to be Level 1 emergency responders. The child tells of their abuse while discreet recording equipment records the interview for future review by law enforcement, caseworkers, prosecutors, victim advocates, mental health professionals, and the courts.

Interviewers may have small earpieces to listen for questions and feedback from law enforcement and other team members who are in a separate room behind closed-circuit television and the kids interact with one interviewer.

What does the Indiana Chapter do to support Hoosier CACs?

The Indiana Chapter is a separate, state-level nonprofit dedicated to advancing Indiana CACs through training, education, outreach, and vital support when they need it most.

  • Public awareness of important developments happening across Indiana.
  • Resources and consulting to ensure CACs have organizational capacity, policies, documents, and more.
  • Training both online and in-person, to ensure each staff member at CACs have the ability to do their jobs with excellence.
  • Accreditation support, so CACs can pursue the highest standards and level of service possible.
  • Technical assistance, to help communities without CACs investigate the viability of, and support necessary, to serve their community.
  • Media consulting, so CACs can learn how to promote their work and educate residents about abuse in their area.
  • Professional development through in-person and online meetings between CACs, Directors, and teams.

More about the Indiana Chapter of NCA

Inside a CAC
Inside CAPS, Elkhart Co.

Founded in 1999 with members from Elkhart, Marion, and St. Joseph Counties, INCACs, the Indiana Chapter of National Children’s Alliance, has been helping CACs grow and expand across Indiana to help abused and neglected children. Today, almost every Hoosier community is served by a CAC.

CACs are composed of accredited and associate members of the National Children’s Alliance and professionals from developing centers.

The Indiana Chapter’s goals include:

  • Sharing information, expertise, and technical and professional assistance among CACs.
  • Coordinating and providing training for staffs of CACs to enhance their skills.
  • Identifying, developing, and sharing funding plans among CACs.
  • Ensuring that national best practice standards are used statewide.
  • Helping to improve each community’s response to child abuse.
  • Securing and disbursing funds to carry out these goals.

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