Your CAC Team

Clark County has a multidisciplinary team of professionals who work together on child abuse reports. The following are the roles of teams described.

The CAC Staff
The Coordinator leads the CAC team. The Coordinator, along with the Case Manager, are the central contacts for all team members and they facilitate communication. A CAC staff person is always present during the child and family’s visit to the Center. Staff provides support and education to the family, provides linkages to medical and mental health services as needed, and in general provides support and referral information as long as the family requests services.

The Forensic Interviewer
The role of Clark County Family and Children Services is to help protect your child. The social workers on the CAC team are trained professionals in the area of forensic interviewing. When children are brought to the Center through Law Enforcement or Child Protective Services, a Forensic Interview is conducted with the child. The Forensic Interview allows children to tell what happened in a safe, "child-friendly" and private environment. For most children, the Forensic Interview begins the healing process. The interview is video-taped and used as evidence throughout the investigation process. Since they are responsible for ensuring the protection of the child, they may also develop safety plans and refer the child and family for additional services.

The Law Enforcement Officers
Both the Springfield Police Division and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office have detectives on the CAC team. They have received specialized training in forensic interviewing and may also be present for child interviews. In their investigations, many parties may need interviewed which include, but are not limited to: non-offending parents, suspects and other witnesses. Law enforcement is also responsible for gathering evidence from the scene of alleged events.

The Clark County Prosecutor
The prosecutor has the final decision as to whether charges will be filed. Consideration is given to many factors which will affect the likelihood of success in court. Some of the factors considered are: age and maturity of the child, the child’s ability to testify, whether or not the suspect has confessed, presence of evidence and whether or not there are witnesses.

The Victim Advocate
The Clark County Victim Witness Program is a division of the Prosecutor’s Office. They provide advocates who help victims and their families who become involved in criminal justice proceedings.

The Health Care Provider
The Rocking Horse Center is the primary medical services provider for the CAC. They have abuse experts working on staff who have years of knowledge and experience in examining children. The sexual abuse exam involves a regular check-up with magnification of the genitalia. Magnification is done with an instrument called a colposcope which is a big magnifying glass that can see and record injuries that could not be seen by the naked eye. Sometimes screenings for STD’s are conducted. The exam should not be traumatic or painful; most children are calm and seem not to mind. Remember, however, an exam may not indicate if the child has been abused. Over 80% of all children who have been abused have normal exams, even with a history of penetration, so the team does not rely on these alone to determine if abuse has occurred. The primary reason for a medical exam is to assure the child that his / her body is okay. The CAC Case Manager will assist families with medical linkages as needed.

The Therapist
Mental health professionals (therapists or counselors) on the team help to decide how the abuse has affected the child and family and what can be done to assist them in healing from the experience. Therapy is extremely important to the healing process. The CAC Case Manager will assist families with mental health linkages as needed.