In 1986 a concerned group of people joined forces to improve the system’s response to sexually abused children. Their goals were to sensitize the system to the needs of these young victims by reducing the number of interviews a child must go through, limiting the number of professionals with whom a child must have contact, and expediting these cases through the judicial system. After much research, numerous meetings, and visits to existing Advocacy Centers across the country, the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center (SCCAC) was established on July 10, 1989.
In 1992 the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center hired an Educator to work with area schools to educate both students and teachers. The child sexual abuse prevention programs are presented to approximately 5,000 children each year in grades K-6. The SCCAC prevention program has received national attention and the curriculum has been requested for duplication throughout the state and nationally.
In 1994, the Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center added a treatment component so that children who have been victims didn’t have to wait to receive counseling. SCCAC contracts with therapists from the community to provide this much needed service for our clients. Trauma Focus-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is offered for victims and/or non-offending family members at no cost.
In 1995, the Child Advocacy Center adopted the CASA program, previously administered by the YWCA of Springfield. A CASA is a Court Appointed Special Advocate, trained volunteer, who is appointed by a judge to represent the best interest of a child in court. CASA cases involve children who have been victims of abuse and neglect.
In 2014, the Sanagmon County Child Advocacy Center celebrated its 25th anniversary, with continued hope that each child who comes to the SCCAC senses an environment of protection and safety.