Children’s Advocacy Centers Honored by Attorney General Tim Fox

Today in Helena, Attorney General Tim Fox recognized the Children’s Advocacy Centers in Montana who have achieved accreditation or re-accreditation with the National Children’s Alliance.  The newly accredited CACs are located in Bozeman, Havre, and the Ft. Peck Reservation, which is the first accredited CAC located on a Montana tribal reservation.  Recently re-accredited Children’s Advocacy Centers are located in Hamilton and Missoula.

At a press conference attended by representatives from the CACs and area legislators, Attorney General Fox said, “Sadly, the need for programs to help Montana children victimized by crime or abuse has increased in recent years.  Fortunately, these three new Children’s Advocacy Centers, in addition to two who have achieved re-accreditation, are staffed by specially trained professionals who stand ready to meet the needs of children traumatized by crime and abuse in their communities. The efforts of these multi-disciplinary teams are crucial to ensuring hope and recovery are possible for young victims served by these centers, and the Montana Department of Justice is committed to continued support of this vitally important work.”

In 2016, over 1,700 Montana children victimized by crime or abuse were served by a nationally accredited children’s advocacy center, or a trained multidisciplinary team in their community, compared to over 1,200 children served in 2014.  The centers and teams all receive training and technical support from the Montana Department of Justice.  Through these programs, children receive forensic interviews, mental health and medical care, and victim advocacy for their families.

Brenda George, Executive Director of the Children’s Alliance of Montana, said, ““The Attorney General’s Office of the Department of Justice, in particular the Children’s Justice Bureau, is an indispensable partner for the Children’s Alliance of Montana by providing resources and training to CACs to become nationally accredited, empowering professionals to provide the highest standard of services to children who are victims of abuse in Montana.”

There are 10 rigorous standards a CAC must meet to achieve accreditation.  Each of these standards is based upon evidence-based best practices.  Attorney General Fox added that although each of the standards is equally weighted and important, Montana is particularly proud of its success in meeting the multidisciplinary team standard and demonstrating that professional teamwork is what helps children and families.  Multidisciplinary teams include victim advocates, child protection workers, medical and mental health professionals, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors.

Montana is home to 10 nationally accredited CACs.