Resources By Topic
A children’s advocacy center (CAC) is a child-focused, facility-based program where representatives from many disciplines collaborate to make decisions about investigation, treatment, intervention, and prosecution of child abuse cases. The CAC’s multidisciplinary team comprises all the professionals and agencies needed to offer comprehensive services to child victims and their families, including law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy.
The following resources describe CACs and the research that supports their effectiveness:
Better Together: Children’s Advocacy Centers – a publication of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Child Abuse Prosecution Project, Les Enfants, Quarterly Newsletter, Winter 2018
Healing, Justice and Trust, A National Report on Outcomes for Children’s Advocacy Centers – a publication of the National Children’s Alliance, 2015
Healing, Justice and Trust, Measuring Outcomes for Kids Served by CACs – a two-page brief published by the National Children’s Alliance, 2015
How CACs Help Kids – this 75-second, animated video explains the CAC process and the reasons why CACs work they way they do.
Snapshot 2017: Advocacy, Efficacy and Funding of CACs – a publication of the National Children’s Alliance, 2016
Visit the CALiO library for an annotated bibliography of the effectiveness of CACs and access to related research publications.
CAC Directors’ Guide to Mental Health Services for Abused Children – a publication of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Children’s Alliance, 2008
National Child Traumatic Stress Network — NCTSN is a national network of providers, researchers, and other partners to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. The NCTSN website provides information on mental health treatments, screening and assessment, Psychological First Aid, and the Core Curriculum on Children and Trauma. NCTSN also includes many publications specific to the needs of CACs and can be found by searching All NCSTN Resources for “CAC”.
Sample Linkage Agreement – this document was drafted by the four Regional Children’s Advocacy Centers to provide a sample template for creating a linkage agreement between a CAC and a mental-health partner agency.
For a selection of online resources and publications, including links to evidence-based programs, promising interventions, and evidence-based assessments, see the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse and the NRCAC website.
The National Children’s Alliance (NCA) sets accreditation standards for children’s advocacy centers (CACs) and state chapters to ensure all children receive consistent, evidence-informed interventions in response to abuse. A full description of the membership type and process for seeking accreditation can be found on the NCA website and in these NCA publications:
National Optional Standards of Accreditation for Children’s Advocacy Centers, 2023 Edition
WRCAC supports the NCA goal of 100% accredited coverage in each state and ensuring that every child has access to coordinated, quality services. If you represent a center within the western region and need accreditation assistance:
- Contact your state chapter (or WRCAC) for more information. You can find contact information for your state chapter by visiting Find a CAC and clicking on the relevant state.
Western Region at a Glance
- 13 accredited state chapters
- 116 accredited CACs
- 12 associate/developing CACS
- 16 affiliated CACs
- 12 CAC satellite locations
NCA Membership Types
For more information on NCA membership, visit the NCA website.
- Accredited Membership: available to CACs that meet each of the ten standards for accreditation.
- Associate/Developing Center Membership: available to CACs working toward, but have not yet achieved, implementation of all standards for accreditation.
- Affiliate Membership: available to multidisciplinary teams working to improve services for abused children through a collaborative approach to intervention.
- Satellite Membership: available to child-friendly facilities offering onsite forensic interviews and victim advocacy services under the sponsorship and oversight of an NCA accredited CAC.
- State Chapter Membership: available to member organizations comprised of CACs within a given state. Chapters serve as the leading resource within the state for CACs and facilitate a network dedicated to a coordinated and comprehensive response to child abuse.
Native American & Alaskan Native MDTs/CACs
WRCAC is committed to supporting the development of tribal-based and village-based multi-disciplinary teams and children’s advocacy centers (CACs). We also support non-tribal CACs in building their capacity to serve Native American and Alaskan Native children and families. By developing partnerships with Native communities and skilled consultants, WRCAC provides technical support and training that respects and preserves cultural traditions.
Tribal CAC Documents and Articles
2019 SRCAC Listen and Learn Guide
DOJ Hearing: We are Failing the Children of Indian Country
Indian Child Welfare Judicial Benchbook
Resiliency & Secondary Traumatic Stress
Building Resiliency in Child Abuse Organizations – Developed by the Office of Victims of Crime, this training curriculum teaches participants to identify the five individual elements of resiliency and explore how they can be implemented through the organizational resiliency model using policies, supervisory techniques, and competency-based training.
National Child Traumatic Stress Network — NCTSN is a national network of providers, researchers, and other partners to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. The NCTSN website provides a section on Secondary Traumatic Stress including several CAC-specific publications such as the following:
- Understanding Secondary Traumatic Stress for CAC Workers
- Understanding Secondary Traumatic Stress in a CAC: Resources
Secondary Traumatic Stress in Child Welfare Practice: Trauma-informed Guidelines for Organizations – a publication of the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, Trauma-Informed Systems Dissemination and Implementation Project, 2016
Vicarious Trauma Toolkit – an online resource offered by the Office of Victims of Crime, the VTT focuses on organizational responses to work-related exposure to trauma. While some resources in the toolkit may be useful to individuals, the VTT is intended to provide organizations with the tools they need to fulfill their responsibility to support staff and become more vicarious trauma-informed. Resources are included that are geared specifically to the fields of victim services, emergency medical services, fire services and law enforcement.
Rural Mental Health
Trauma Informed Practice
Trauma-Informed Care and Practice in a CAC Setting – This three-part webinar series hosted by WRCAC focuses on the effects of trauma on children and how to implement trauma-informed practices in a Children’s Advocacy Center.
Building Trauma-Informed Children’s Advocacy Centers: Resource Guide – This guide provides a directory of current resources including fact sheets, infographics, webinars, and assessment tools to assist children’s advocacy centers in building a trauma-informed response.
The Advocate’s Guide: Working with Parents of Children Who Save Been Sexually Assaulted – a publication of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2015.
The Field Guide to Family Advocacy — this publication was completed as a partnership between Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi and West Virginia Child Advocacy Network, 2017.
National Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA) — NVAA offers Victim Assistance Training online for victim service providers with less than three years of experience; a Leadership Institute for new and seasoned victim services leaders that uses a blended learning approach of self-paced online training and facilitated webinars; and an Advanced Skills Institute with a combination of self-paced online training and facilitated webinars.
Victim Advocacy Guidelines – this document was drafted by the four Regional Children’s Advocacy Centers to assist CACs in meeting the victim advocacy standard for accreditation, and to help CAC staff and the MDT provide specialized victim advocacy services to the children and families in their community. The guideline includes information on accessing training for victim advocates, protocol development, online resources, a service checklist and a sample linkage agreement.
Role of the Victim Advocate (VIDEO) – this video was created by Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center in collaboration with Western Regional Children’s Advocacy Center as a training and orientation tool for both incoming and current multidisciplinary team (MDT) members. This video highlights the importance of victim advocates, what victim advocates do for children and families, and the role of the victim advocate on the MDT.
Youth with Problematic Sexual Behavior
Center on Youth Registration Reform – a project of Impact Justice, CYRR works to repeal laws that place children and youth on sex offender registries.
National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth – NCSBY has developed resources and training material geared to professionals from multiple disciplines (e.g., probation, mental health, medicine, education, child welfare, law, law enforcement, and the judiciary) addressing youth with problematic or illegal sexual behavior). The NCSBY website includes curricula, cataloged assessment instruments, registration law information by states, and fact sheets.
National Children’s Alliance Fact Sheets – NCA produced three fact sheets to educate CAC, their partners, caregivers, and communities on addressing youth and children with problematic sexual behaviors: Where We Begin, What We Can Do, and What Happens Now.
Youth with Problematic Sexual Behaviors – This two-hour NCA course provides an overview of youth with problematic sexual behaviors, discusses the CAC coordinated response, presents the characteristics of evidence-based mental health treatment for problematic sexual behaviors, provides guidance on engaging community stakeholders, aims to dispel myths and misconceptions about youth with problematic sexual behaviors and helps CACs understand that they can and should serve this population.