Organization Name: CAC serving Kennebec & Somerset county

Program Name: Children’s Advocacy Center serving Kennebec & Somerset counties

Program Contact: Samantha Marquis, Child Forensic Interviewer
Email: samantha.marquis@silentnomore.org     Phone: (207) 861-4491

UWMM has funded this program for 10 years.

Amount Requested: $12000
Is this an increase from what your program received for the current funding cycle? 
Yes

Received: $10000 Requesting increase because:We are requesting an increase for two reasons. The first being that we have a specific rural Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) advocate who only serves sexual assault victims that live in Somerset county. Her travel needs have increased due to our increased presence in Somerset county. She accompanies families to the CAC, Protection From Abuse (PFA) court proceedings and criminal cases. The second reason we are asking for more is we are beginning a new support group. The support group is specific to the Children’s Advocacy Center. The support group is for non-offending caregiver to the children that have utilized the CAC.

Twenty-five word summary of this program’s purpose:

The CAC’s purpose is to provide coordination, communication and collaberation among child abuse response agencies in order to better serve children and families. 

How your program is uniquely important to the community:

Our program is unique, in that, there is no other agency like us in the Kennebec & Somerset catchment areas of UWMM. The Children’s Advocacy Center of Kennebec & Somerset counties is a nationally accredited agency that provides a safe, neutral and child centered place for coordinated evaluation of children following an allegation of sexual abuse. Using evidence-based practices, the CAC multi-disciplinary team members are committed to the minimization of trauma through a streamlined, non-repetitious and timely evaluation process. We also offer on-going support for children and their non-offending family members/legal guardian will always be a paramount importance to the CAC team.

Our CAC has a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach to child sexual abuse cases. Once a referral is made the Family Services Coordinator (FSC) will contact MDT members that are involved in the case, including law enforcement, DHHS and the District Attorney’s Office and the CAC forensic interviewer to make arrangements for an interview time. 

Monthly, the entire MDT meets to review cases that have gone through the CAC. During the case review, MDT members who are working the case are asked to share pertinent information and participate in team decision making that is child and family focused.  The purpose of the monthly case review is to identify things we are doing well and things in the system that could be done better.

The second aspect of our center that makes us unique, is that wrap around approach that we take. The CAC recognizes that children and families who come to the CAC may not have had previous involvement or experience with any of the systems involved in a child abuse investigation and that the experience can be overwhelming. The family is also provided with an informational packet that includes information about the dynamics of sexual abuse, CAC process, child abuse investigations, follow up services, contact information for all MDT members involved in the case. The day of the interview the FSC can make referrals for mental health, medical and advocacy, prior to the family leaving that day. 

Program Updates

Since last report (or in past two years):

Our new program update change has been an added rural advocate for just Somerset county. Our new rural advocate is Morgan Polky and she is a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) advocate. SART advocates create a more compassionate and streamlined response to victims of sexual abuse. SART’s respond to the context of each victim’s circumstance and respects the unique roles of the different professionals involved in responding to sexual assault. Over the years, communities have developed a team approach in sexual abuse cases.  SART’s are part of the multidisciplinary team partners, who work together to provide inter-agency, coordinated responses that make victims’ needs a priority, hold offenders accountable, and promote public safety. 

 

Expected in the coming year:

This coming year we in the beginning stages of starting a non-offender caregiver support group for Somerset and Kennebec counties. Four of our SART advocates are going to a two-day Support Group training in the end of March. The non-offender support group is specifically for caregivers of the children that come through the CAC. This support group is designed to increase non-offending caregivers’ understanding of abuse/trauma, ways to intervene with traumatized children, and to provide support for families during difficult times. Topics include self-care, understanding perpetrators of abuse, children and trauma, and prevention/responding to child sexual abuse. 

Outcome your program most contributes to:
Health: All individuals in Mid-Maine are in safe and healthy environments with access to health supports and services.

How program contributes:
Provides a direct service in behavioral and/or physical health areas, Increases access/reduces barriers to direct services, Increases capacity/resources for direct services, Advocates for behavioral and/or physical health, Collaborates with other programs/services in behavioral and/or physical health

Define your year: Our agency’s year is defined as October 1 to September 30.

How much did we do? 52 (Total number served)

How well did we do it?

Performance measure: Percent of new clients
Most recent year’s data: 94%
Previous year’s data: 98%

What was the difference made?

Performance measure: Percent of clients whose basic needs are met
Most recent year’s data: 100%
Previous year’s data: 100%

Action Plan

Objectives for current year:

Our program’s objectives are to increase our outreach support to the Somerset county catchment area. We are doing this by having our new rural SART advocate specifically for Somerset county deliver support services for both the child and their families. The rural SART advocate is going to protection from abuse court (PFA) in Skowhegan to support the families. They also work in a partnership with Pine Tree Legal (PTLA) to offer families that utilize the CAC civil legal representation. We can make referrals to PTLA during a families CAC visit, so that upon leaving the CAC they know that free service is available to them in their time of need.

A new objective for the rural SART advocate for the upcoming year will be our increased availability to families through the prosecution process. We just started with the partnership of the District Attorney’s office in Somerset county, to be at each and every meeting the child and non-offending family members have with the Assistant District Attorney (ADA)handling their case. Prior to this new objective, families wouldn’t necessarily meet with the ADA days after the interview and now our new objective is to have the meeting with the ADA and our SART advocate soon after the process starts. We are very excited to develop this wrap-around approach, which is our main priority objective at the CAC, to extend a multi-disciplinary team approach to child sexual abuse. 

Objectives and results from last year:Our Children’s Advocacy objectives last year were to focus on our re-accreditation process. In October 2013, the Children’s Advocacy Center became the first CAC in Maine to become accredited by the National Children’s Alliance. The re-accreditation process is to maintain the highest standard of practice for the youngest victims of child sexual abuse. In order to meet each of the ten standards in the application process, we met monthly at the CAC Advisory meetings for an entire ten months, discussing each standard. In October of 2018, the Children’s Advocacy Center became the first CAC in Maine to become re-accredited for another five years. We do not need to be re-accredited again until 2023. 

We also worked on another objective, which was the Reporting Tool data from each of our law enforcement agencies. This was a new standard that NCA had put into their requirements, that had never been requested before. We worked with Watervile Police Department, Deputy Chief Bill Bonney to develop a Reporting Tool form that we could give to law enforcement agencies. This Reporting Tool has helped us identify that 75% or more of reported or suspected child sexual abuse cases are referred to the CAC. We met this objective not only by having it available as an accreditation standard, but we were the first in the state to develop and utilize the Reporting Tool, that has now been dispersed throughout Maine and New England. 

Success Stories

The success story that we would love to share is of a child under the age of twelve that received services at the Children’s Advocacy center in 2018. The case began as many of our cases do, with a disclosure of child sexual abuse. The first step the non-offending caregiver took upon having her child disclose to her was to the Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Center (our umbrella agency). Our SART advocate called the caregiver and discussed next steps. The SART advocate made a mandated report to the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). The Children’s Advocacy Center received a new referral on this case and the Family Services Coordinator (FSC) made call to coordinate with  the non-offending parent, DHHS law enforcement, and our SART advocate for that catchment area (UWMM catchment area). During the CAC visit the caregiver was able to meet with the MDT partners and the forensic interviewer to ask any questions they had, as well as questions the MDT partners had for the caregiver. The child was interviewed only once by a specially trained forensic interviewer who has conducted over 1,000 forensic interviews. The MDT partners were in an adjacent room watching the interview with a closed circuit television. During the forensic interview the caregiver received a packet of information of child sexual abuse and available resources. The referrals that we made that day and the continued advocacy with our SART advocates, was support at the CAC interview, mailed out additional resources for the caregiver, helped coordinate with law enforcement for caregiver to get belongings safely from the alleged offender’s residence, and we made mental health referrals for both the client and her caregiver. 

An extra success to this particular family is the empowerment they gained from the process. The child felt compelled to start her own fundraiser, to raise money for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Kennebec and Somerset counties. She worked with our center’s outreach coordinator and her school to make this event possible. She organized her school to allow children to wear a hat to school for one day, if they donated a dollar. She raised over $100 dollars for the CAC and she was extremely excited about her contributions to the cause. The positive and collaborative process of the Children’s Advocacy Center lent itself to a very positive outcome for this child’s healing and future. 

Previous Year Actual Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
144000 10000 30000 0 0 184000

Total Actual Expenditures: $184000

Current Year Budgeted Income and Expenditures

Government Funding UWMM Funding Other UWs Funding Fees/Dues Funding Other Sources Funding Total Income
174368 12000 35000 0 13161 234529

Total Budgeted Expenditures: $234529

Anything remarkable about your program’s budget:

Our budget includes funding for all of Kennebec & Somerset counties. The funding however from United Way of Kennebec Valley funds will only support the clients in their catchment area. The same is true of the funds from United Way of Mid Maine funding will only go towards the clients in your catchment area. 

 
What else you’d like reviewers to know:

Thank you for taking the time to learn all about our agency! We would also like you to take a few minutes to watch our Children’s Advocacy Video for Kennebec & Somerset counties. The video is a great illustration of the purpose of the CAC as well as a first-hand account from a family that utilized the CAC. Prior to the Children’s Advocacy Center in Kennebec and Somerset counties, children who disclosed child sexual abuse had to tell their story multiple times, to multiple different people. We now have a nationally accredited  stream-lined program that allows for the child to tell just one time, to one specifically trained interviewer what happen in a child-focused manner. Please see the attached document to view the efficacy of the CAC process and it’s longer term positive impacts for the youngest victims of sexual abuse and their caregivers. 

Our CAC video can be seen on vimeo- https://vimeo.com/162120691    

 

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