What Is The Children's Advocacy Center Of Collier County?
The Children's Advocacy Center of Collier County (CAC) is committed to improving the lives of abused children and creating a community that does not tolerate child abuse. CAC is a nonprofit 501c3 agency that provides a coordinated, multi-agency approach to the investigation, intervention, and treatment of child sexual and physical abuse. We provide a friendly atmosphere designed to minimize a child's trauma during the investigation and throughout the healing process. Our facility includes CAC's staff of specially trained forensic interviewers, medical doctors, therapists, parenting educators, and children advocates as well as the Naples Police Department, the Collier County Police Department, the Department of Children and Families, and the State Attorneys Office. Together the CAC, and partners, provide unbiased, non-leading, non-suggestive forensic interviews and a variety of therapy services that provide hope and healing to victims of abuse.
Why Is The Children's Advocacy Necessary In Collier County?
The criminal justice system, primarily designed for adult perpetrators not child victims, often lacks coordination between police, prosecution, mental health and medical agencies. Before CAC, children were often "re-victimized" through unnecessary and repetitive interviews due to each agency's independent process. This process led to duplication of efforts between the various departments while also complicating the information for the child's case in an already complex legal system. The CAC helps overcome these problems by reducing child trauma and enhancing the investigation, resulting in improved lives for child victims and a higher number of convictions for offenders.
Who Does The Children's Advocacy Center Of Collier County Serve?
CAC serves sexually and physically abused children under the age of 18 whose cases are referred by law enforcement or the Florida Department of Children and Families. CAC typically serves the most severe or complex cases of child abuse and child witnesses of violent crime. CAC served more than 2,200 children and their families in one of our programs in 2013.
CAC also provides therapy for the abused children we serve helping them overcome their abuse and helping them to cope as survivors of abuse. The CAC provides school-based advocacy to three schools in partnership with the Collier County Public Schools in an effort to support children and support them throughout the school year. CAC provides training for parents on how to be nurturing parents and to parent according to their strengths. Through a variety of programs, the CAC is committed to raising awareness of the realities of child abuse in our community and helping improve the lives of these vulnerable children.
Are Clients Charged For Services?
The CAC services are provided at no cost to the clients. We can do this because of the generous support we get from our partners in fundraising. To help us in our goal of improving the lives of these children please consider being one of our partners and donate now.
How Are Children Referred To The Children's Advocacy Center Of Collier County?
Children are referred through the two agencies that are mandated to receive reports of child abuse: The Abuse Hotline through the Department of Children and Families and all law enforcement agencies in Collier County. We see the most severe cases of child abuse including sexual abuse, physical abuse, or children who have witnessed a violent crime, such as a homicide. Should you suspect that your child (or a child that you know) has been abused, please call 911 or the statewide abuse hotline at 1-800-962-2873.
We also receive self referrals for our voluntary parenting program.
How Can I Become Involved In Helping The Abused Children In Collier County?
We are always looking for special people to volunteer in various roles—from office support to special events, we have many opportunities to help the children of Collier County.
For more information about these volunteer opportunities, contact us at 239.263-8383
Who Staffs The Children's Advocacy Center Of Collier County?
Jackie Stephens, CEO
In 1985 Jackie Stephens graduated from Florida Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. Stephens received her Master’s degree in Counseling from Rollins College in 1990.
Stephens has been the executive director/chief executive officer of the Collier County Children’s Advocacy Council since 1992. She manages all aspects of the non-profit including budget, fiscal and contract development and preparation. Additionally, she develops and manages the agency business plan including annual campaigns and fundraising. She develops agency programs and provides over-site and supervision of the Children’s Advocacy Center, Family Safety Program, Child Victim Rapid Response Program, Parenting Programs and the Sexual Abuse Treatment Program.
Prior to moving to Collier County in 1992, Stephens managed a hospital-based Child Protection Team where she started as a case coordinator in 1986. She has been with the Child Protection Team for over 23 years. Stephens served as a statewide Child Protection Team associate consultant from 1994 to 2001. Currently, she serves as a Lead Quality Assurance /Improvement reviewer for the Florida Department of Health Child Protection Teams.
Stephens is a board member of the Florida Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers. She is also a past president of the Women’s Political Caucus in Collier County. Stephens is a graduate of Leadership Collier 1999, the Leadership Institute 2002 and Leadership Florida Class XXVI.
Stephens has five children; three step-children and two of her own. There are currently four kids out of college and one in seventh grade at Oak Ridge Middle School.
For more staff members click here.
For our Board of Directors click here.
What Is The History of The Children's Advocacy Center Of Collier County
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Collier County began serving Collier and Southern Lee Counties as a Child Protection Team in 1986. During that first year, the Child Protection Team (CPT) provided specialized services to 167 child victims. The need for help and new services for abused and neglected children continued to grow so that the CAC expanded beyond CPT to include the Family Safety Program and the Youth Advocates in the 1990s. By 2000, the population boom in Collier County along with an increasing demand for accountability for the welfare of children translated into a tremendous need for services – referrals tripled and the mission of the CAC was changed to reflect the expanding services offered. In 2013, the CAC helped a staggering 2,200 children and their families through our five programs.
The Children’s Advocacy Center is a child-centered, family-friendly setting for victims of abuse or neglect. Using a process of identification, intervention and treatment, the CAC addresses the immediate as well as long-term needs of a child who has been harmed. From the forensic interview to the courtroom, the CAC provides highly skilled professionals with the expertise to ensure that each child is treated with dignity and compassion. Additionally, we offer prevention and supervision programs to further promote child safety in our community.
The diagnosis and treatment of child abuse and neglect is a complex process and requires the expertise of many professionals to effectively intervene and ensure the child’s protection. The CAC has a dedicated staff of clinical supervisors, case coordinators, forensic interviewers, case managers, counselors and advocates as well as a medical director and pediatricians. All of these highly trained and experienced professionals specialize in child victims. This expertise helps to find out what has happened and keep the child safe while preventing further victimization by investigative procedures.
Many children in our community are being abused, neglected, exposed to family violence or victimized by other types of crimes. Approximately 25% of all crime victims are under the age of 18 and are not able to protect themselves. All too often they are victimized in their own home by someone they know and trust. At the CAC, the average age of a child receiving services is seven years old and 40% of these clients are victims of sexual abuse.
The Children’s Advocacy Center provides a variety of programs designed to meet the needs of this growing population. From intervention to prevention, the CAC is dedicated to minimizing trauma to abused children and enhance families’ capabilities to provide a safe environment.
What Is The Symbolism Behind Your Logo?
A pinwheel in motion signifies forward movement, moving beyond where we are, as our brave children do in their healing process
The fins of a pinwheel are connected to a starfish. The starfish can be found on the sandy beaches of Collier County and are known for their regenerative ability. As our work centers on an abused child, this symbolism informs our therapy.
The vibrant colors and child-friendly symbol are mixed with the strong and stable font used in our name which is used to strike a balance between expressing that we are: Strong, Stable, Professional, Experts in the field, Warm, Nurturing, Compassionate, Hopeful, and Relatable to our clients.
We would like to publicly thank Stephen Gray-Blanchett for leading us through the process of designing a new logo to provide a brand that encompasses all that we do in our community.
What Are The Strategic Goals Of The Children's Advocacy Center Of Collier County?
1. Prevent Abuse Before It Starts
2. Identify Abuse And Its Cause
3. Aid In The Prosecution Of Perpetrators
4. Provide Victim Support Services
5. Provide Family Support Services
Children's Advocacy Center is a 501(c)(3) 1036 Sixth Avenue North Naples, Florida 34102 email@example.com 239.263.8383
Services are provided without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability or religion.
For more information or a disability accommodation, please contact our main office.