- May 2011
- Vol. 12, No. 4
Mobile Child Advocacy Centers Serve Rural Populations
Taking Services Beyond Boundaries: How the Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center Is Using Mobile CACs to Improve Care for Underserved Children and Their Families is a manual that explores the use of mobile child advocacy centers (CACs) and how they can bring services and resources to previously underserved victims of sexual abuse, including children and families. Written by Kelly Robbins and David Fyler of the Western Kansas CAC, the manual offers guidance and information to other communities that may be considering starting their own mobile CACs. Using Western Kansas experience as an example, the manual shares tips on how to:
- Fund a mobile CAC
- Use individualized approaches to respond to child abuse cases and ensure the best outcomes
- Encourage staff to get involved with multiple jobs on the mobile CAC
- Explain the benefits of a mobile CAC to leaders in the community
There are many benefits to implementing mobile CACs, beyond being able to provide basic trauma response services to underserved community members. Mobile CACs can reduce the amount of trauma a child experiences during an incident by providing timely response services tailored to children and families and decreasing the amount of time a child has to wait to perform a forensic interview. Nonoffending parents are encouraged to support their children throughout the intervention process, and opportunities for further mental health treatment are offered. Court cases are processed more quickly, due to the ability to coordinate investigative and interview procedures at the same time. In addition, the presence of a mobile CAC presents an opportunity to educate the community about child abuse prevention and response.
The manual includes a chapter on "lessons learned" through the Kansas experience, a chapter of practical recommendations on outfitting a mobile CAC, and four appendices that include cost estimators and sample agreements and protocols.
Taking Services Beyond Boundaries: How the Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center Is Using Mobile CACs to Improve Care for Underserved Children and Their Families was funded through a U.S. Department of Justice grant and is available for download on the American Bar Association website: