The Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) Directors' Guide to Mental Health Services for Abused Children seeks to give CAC leaders increased awareness and understanding of best practice mental health interventions for traumatized children. Whether mental health services to child victims are offered within the CAC or through linkages with community partners, the guide offers all CAC directors valuable information.
Throughout the United States, Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) serve tens of thousands of children each year, many of whom have been traumatized by abuse or exposure to violence. CACs exist to provide therapeutic services to these children and their nonoffending family members in a safe and child-friendly environment. Most CACs coordinate multidisciplinary teams to investigate, treat, and prosecute child abuse cases, as well as help the children cope with these investigations by reducing their trauma. CACs also provide national leadership on child abuse issues; and some provide professional education and development, and promote community awareness.
To be true to and fulfill the promise of the CAC mission, CAC directors must continually expand their focus, develop new resources, and broaden their abilities to increase each child's potential for recovering from identified abuse and for living a full and productive life. The NCTSN offers the CAC Directors' Guide to help CAC staff to fully understand the impact of childhood traumatic stress.
The CAC Directors' Guide was developed as a collaborative project between the National Children's Alliance and the NCTSN, with support from SAMHSA and the NCCTS.