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York County Children's Advocacy Center
South Queen Street
York, PA

(717) 718-4253

York County Children's Advocacy Center - What Services We Provide

What Services We Provide

Why is the York County Children's Advocacy Center needed?

Prior to the opening of the Children's Advocacy Center, an abused child was subjected to multiple forensic interviews in various agency settings during the information gathering process, including a possible medical exam. The child may have been taken to the hospital or doctor's office, the police department, a social worker or attorney's office.

Imagine the child's overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety as he or she was shuffled between agencies, surrounded by adults inquiring about the details of the traumatic event. During each interview, the victim was asked to retell his/her story, vividly reliving the pain and confusion surrounding the experience. While the information and data gathered was necessary for the case, the old system further victimized the child and potentially corrupted the information needed for prosecution.

Now imagine a child-friendly, safe house, where the child feels secure in a non-threatening environment; a house where the child only has to go through one interview and one physical exam (if necessary). That child-friendly, safe house is the York County Children's Advocacy Center.

A Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Investigation is the core component of York County's response to allegations of child abuse. The Children's Advocacy Center facilitates an MDT response to allegations of child abuse. The MDT creates a prompt, sensitive, thorough, interagency response to reports of alleged child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse as well as child witnesses to violence. The MDT also provides extensive supportive and follow-up services to children and their families.

Each person and agency on the MDT is dedicated to providing complete and effective services to children and their families.

The York County Children's Advocacy Center's Multidisciplinary Team includes:

Team Facilitator
brings together team members and schedules forensic interviews of children when they are conducted as part of an investigation and facilitates case review meetings. The Children's Advocacy Center Team Coordinator is also a trained Forensic Interviewer.

Law Enforcement Officers
police detectives are assigned to investigate reports of child abuse. They are responsible for collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses and alleged perpetrators, making arrests when appropriate and helping to ensure the child and family's safety.

Assistant District Attorneys
the prosecutor decides whether someone should be charged with a crime and then presents evidence in court ot a judge and/or jury.

Victim/Witness Coordinators
are based out of the office of the District Attorney. They communicate between the child and family and the MDT. The Victim/Witness Coordinators are a primary contact for the family throughout their case, providing information about victim rights, addressing safety concerns, providing referral information and helping the family through the court process.

Forensic Interviewers
have specialized training in conducting interviews of children who may have been abused or witnessed serious crimes. They speak with children about their experience to find out if abuse occurred. The rest of the MDT observes from behind a one-way mirror. The interviewer's training and skill ensures that reliable information is elicited from the child in a legally, clinically and culturally sound manner.

York County Office of Children Youth & Families
social workers have the primary mandate of ensuring the safety of children in an environment free from abuse and neglect, while preserving family life when possible. York County Office of Children Youth & Families is able to provide on-going support to families when necessary.

Mental Health Consultants
therapists from the Victim Assistance Center, a program of the YWCA, and case managers from York/Adams Mental Health and Mental Retardation assist the team in identifying services that will be helpful for the child and family.

Medical Providers
specially-trained Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFE) are available at the Children's Advocacy Center and York Hospital to conduct medical evaluations, consult with families and collect forensic evidence when needed.

Services Provided by the York County Children's Advocacy Center

Forensic Interviews

When allegations of child abuse and neglect are made, it is important to quickly determine the validity of each allegation. Talking with a child is often the first stop for most investigations in to allegations of child abuse and neglect.

The York County Children's Advocacy Center strives to minimize the number of times a child has to give his or her statement regarding allegations of abuse. The York County Children's Advocacy Center works with the MDT on most cases to schedule a single interview with a Forensic Interviewer at our Center. Our forensic interviewer is specially trained to conduct a neutral, non-leading and well-documented interview in a child-focused manner. The MDT observes the interview from behind a one-way mirror, which permits the team to collaboratively work together to meet each child's unique needs.

Forensic Medical Exams

After a disclosure or concern of sexual abuse, it is important for a child to be seen by a medical professional who has special training in the medical examination of abused children. The York County Children's' Advocacy Center offers non-emergency medical evaluations in our child-friendly examination room. The exam will help:

  • To ensure the health and well-being of the child
  • To reassure the child and family that everything is okay with his/her body
  • To further help link the child and family to other necessary services and resources

After the exam, the results will be shared with the family and child in an age-appropriate manner.

Victim Assistance Center: A program of the YWCA

The mission of the York County Victim Assistance Center is to provide crisis intervention, information, advocacy and ongoing counseling and support to the people of York County who are victims of sexual violence or other violent crimes; to advocate for change in the community and criminal justice system when in the best interest of assault and crime victims; and to work towards the prevention of violent crimes through education and coordination of service with other community organizations. For additional information about this organization, http://www.ywcayork.org/victim-services