Child Abuse Facts

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Our History

The child advocacy center concept was originated in 1983 by District Attorney Bud Cramer in Huntsville, Alabama. Recognizing that child victims were being re-victimized by the very system that was supposed to protect them, Cramer led efforts to establish the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville in 1985. Today, the Huntsville advocacy center serves as a model and resource for a growing number of advocacy centers across the country.

In 2004, our community was made aware of the potential need for a child advocacy center in Van Zandt County. The concept was researched, the local need was assessed and community dialogue was facilitated. In 2004, a task force was formed for the purpose of laying groundwork for a center in Van Zandt County. The task force was composed of community agencies, professionals and volunteers interested in further coordinating the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse for the benefit of child victims. During the following year, the task force worked to build the program’s foundation with the development of protocols, policies and procedures. The Children’s Advocacy Center of Van Zandt County became a member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers™ of Texas, Inc., in September 2005.

A 2000 square foot residential building was donated for five years. Generous volunteers in the community gave the building a new face with remodeling, furnishings, and many child friendly additions.

The Children's Advocacy Center of Van Zandt County now resides in a 4000 square foot building, located at 503 West Highway 243 in Canton, Texas. It currently houses Forensic Services (e.g., Forensic Interiews and Multi-Disciplinary Team activities), Family Advocacy Services (e.g., Victim's Compensation assistance, victims's services, and partner agency referrals, Therapeutic Services (e.g., individual and family counseling), Commmunity Education Services (e.g., community events and education, volunteer services), and business and administrative services (e.g., grant management and facility operations).

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Van Zandt County represents a remarkable collaboration and coalition of dedicated individuals and agencies. This partnership, combined with a generous outpouring of community support, has made the center a reality and children a priority.

The center joins over 70 advocacy centers in Texas and 200 advocacy centers nationwide in a growing effort to protect America’s youngest victims from re-victimization by an adult criminal justice system.