Children's Assessment Center
For more Information on the Children's Assesment Center, go to cacsbc.com
Prior to the opening of the Children's Assessment Center (CAC), abused children referred to Children and Family Services often had to endure a number of interviews performed by the multiple agencies involved in the investigation of the case. Many times, victimized children suffered unnecessary trauma in this process.
In an effort to minimize that trauma, a task force was established by the Children’s Network Policy Council in 1992 to explore the possibility of creating a quality comprehensive program. The task force was comprised of leaders from multiple departments within the County of San Bernardino, Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Children’s Network and Children’s Fund.
In January 1994, the CAC opened its first doors to treat sexually abused children. Serving almost 900 children in the first year of being open, services were expanded to include physical abuse and severe neglect cases in 1998.
In 2013, the CAC team served 1,376 children – an increase of 54% from the prior year. With such a drastic increase in children being seen, the collaborative board met to discuss the need for expanded space. In April 2014, the CAC relocated to a larger, state-of-the-art facility located in San Bernardino. This year alone, the Center is on track to treat 1,800 children.
The CAC offers a child-friendly environment where specially-trained forensic medical providers conduct evidentiary medical examinations and are able to provide expert witness testimony in court as needed.
Experienced culturally competent forensic interviewers spend meaningful time with children allowing them to tell their story one time while social workers, law enforcement, and other professionals observe through a one-way mirror.
A victim witness advocate through the District Attorney is available to meet with families, give crisis intervention support and provide referrals for therapy and other services.
Trauma-focused therapy services provided by the Department of Behavioral Health are available onsite.
Children’s Assessment Center’s therapy dog Mack
Through this comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach, we respond together to meet the needs of the child. This helps reduce trauma and promote a sense of stability for these children, who are already facing difficult circumstances.
Team members from these partner agencies meet on a monthly basis for training and case review. The multidisciplinary approach protects suspected child victims of abuse from undergoing multiple, duplicative interviews and examinations for child protection, law enforcement, medical, legal and clinical purposes. The multidisciplinary cooperation fosters a unified response for families in need allowing for appropriate placement and treatment of the child.
Who we treat
Child victims of alleged physical or sexual abuse and severe neglect are referred to the Center for services from either a law enforcement agency or Children and Family Services. Children treated are aged 0-18 years of age with almost 50% of the children being under the age of 5.