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How to establish a CAC in your community

The Minnesota Children’s Alliance envisions a world where every Minnesota child has local access to a great, high-quality CAC. CACs provide services designed to help children and families heal from abuse. All accredited CACs must meet the standards outline by the National Children’s Alliance.

NCA Standards for Accredited Members

This edition is in effect January 1, 2017, and is the standard for all new and re-accreditation applications. Click to view or download.

Starting a CAC

The following is a checklist developed by the National Children’s Alliance that gives a broad set of needs that must be address before a CAC can really get started.

While the activities are listed in approximate order, some will need to take place concurrently and there will be variations in each community.

If you are interested in starting a CAC in your community, the Minnesota Children’s Alliance can help you get started. contact Marcia Milliken at 612-615-4605 or by email at

Phase 1 – Planning and Teambuilding

  • Convene a working committee or task force of key individuals
    • Law enforcement
    • Child Protection
    • Prosecution
    • Medical
    • Mental Health
    • Advocacy
    • Victim Services (Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence)
    • Community Cultural Representatives
  • Determine which organization will take the lead
  • Conduct a needs assessment of the extent of the problem in the community
  • Develop vision and mission statements
  • Determine CAC service population
    • Age
    • Crime (sexual abuse, serious physical abuse, trafficking, witness to violent crime and vulnerable adults)
    • Home county – surrounding counties?

Phase 2 – Research and Policies

  • Gather information on various CAC models
    • Hospital based
    • Nonprofit – 501c3
      • Independent
      • Umbrella organization
    • Government based
  • Select the CAC model that best suits the community

Phase 3 – Funding and Development

  • Identify funding sources
  • Develop multidisciplinary team protocol
  • Develop Interagency Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding and obtain agency commitment
  • Determine which services will be offered on-site or through referrals
  • Select site and design or acquire space for child-appropriate facility
  • Determine staffing needs and agency roles

The Minnesota Children’s Alliance is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the care and investigation of sexual abuse and assault against children and at-risk adults.
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