How to Start a CAC

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.

Accredited children’s advocacy centers provide consistent, evidence-based services that center the child, adolescent and family.

Review the Standards

Starting a CAC

The following is a checklist developed by the National Children’s Alliance that provides an outline of steps that must be addressed before a community can really get started developing a CAC.

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 our team to learn more about starting a CAC.

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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
    • Additional Community Leaders
  • Determine which organization will take the lead in organizing the development process
  • Conduct a needs assessment of the extent of the child abuse and neglect in the community
  • Develop vision and mission statements for the task force
  • Determine CAC service population
    • Age
    • Crime (sexual abuse, serious physical abuse, trafficking, witness to violent crime, vulnerable adults, etc.)
    • Will the CAC serve the county in which it resides or will it serve surrounding counties as well?

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

Our Standards

Accredited Children’s Advocacy Centers provide consistent, evidence-based services that center the child, adolescent and family.

Review the Standards