This project is a collaboration by CSN, Pacific County Prosecutor’s Office, Pacific County Health & Human Services, WellSpring Community Network, local law enforcement, Providence Sexual Assault & Child Maltreatment Center, Child Protective Services (CPS), Pacific County Youth Alliance (PCYA), Willapa Behavioral Health, and others.
A CAC is a one stop location for children who have been sexually or physically abused to receive services including physical exams, forensic interviews, and trauma therapy.
Until now, Pacific County youth have had to go to Lewis or Grays Harbor counties to access services, often having to retell their stories multiple times. This process not only makes coordination with the criminal justice system difficult, but can be a re-traumatizing experience for victims.
A team was formed in the spring of 2016 to develop a plan for opening a CAC, including prosecutor Mark McClain, CSN director Kathryn Burr, and Health & Human Services deputy director Katie Lindstrom. These monthly planning sessions led to a meeting with a foundation who was interested in addressing existing community gaps. After being invited to apply for foundation funding, the CAC planning team developed an application.
The foundation application requested and received the full $350,000 over three years. These funds will meet four needs of a CAC: 1) a CAC/Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) coordinator, 2) forensic interviews, 3) physical exams, and 4) additional therapy for victims and affected others, such as family members.
A CAC/MDT coordinator will coordinate the center as well as community case conferencing. Community case conferencing ensures effective case management and communication between human services and criminal justice partners. They do this by supporting the child and family as they navigate the system, coordinating interviews, exams, and therapy, and facilitating communication to support prosecution.
An additional part of the CAC/MDT coordinator’s responsibility will be working towards CAC accreditation. This process takes two years to accomplish, which will be covered by foundation funding. Once accredited, the CAC will be able to tap into additional federal and state grants to support operations.
Foundation funding will also provide for staffing and space for forensic interviews. Forensic interviews allow children to tell their story once in a recorded, child-friendly setting so that they do not have to be re-interviewed by police, prosecutors, and medical staff. For the first six months, forensic interviews will be conducted by certified Lewis County interviewers, who will train a pool of local interviewers. A portion of funding will go to remodeling the CSN building as well to meet the necessary specification for these services.
Foundation funds will also be used to purchase the equipment needed for physical exams. Physical exams address medical conditions resulting from abuse and assesses for problems needing further treatment. This service will be located out of Pacific County Health & Human Services.
Lastly, funding will be applied to long-term therapy for victims and families. Currently, a limited number of trauma-focused therapy is available for the child only.
WellSpring expresses its utmost gratitude to our partners in making this project a reality. Through continued collaborations, we can provide the best services possible for local youth.