Goodell Backs Child Advocacy Centers

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and his colleagues were instrumental in promoting a legislative add-on of $2.57 million for child advocacy centers, approved as part of the 2014 New York state budget.

Known as the Child Advocacy Program, Chautauqua County is home to one of 40 child advocacy centers statewide.

“It is a great program that really helps children in a most difficult time in life, in a most effective way,” Goodell said. “I am pleased that the state Legislature recognizes the importance of child advocacy centers and increased the funding this year.”

Child advocacy centers provide a child-friendly setting in which allegations of abuse are responded to collaboratively by a multidisciplinary team including members of law enforcement, child protective services, prosecutors, medical professionals, mental health providers, victim advocates and center staff. Centers are based upon a national model designed to reduce the trauma experienced by child victims. From the time of the initial report, through the resolution of the case, the team works together to conduct a thorough investigation, prosecute offenders and provide the necessary support services to the children and their non-offending family members. Many services are provided on-site at CAP including forensic interviews, group and individual counseling using trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and forensic medical evaluations.

Statistics indicate that one in 10 children will experience abuse before turning 18. In 2013, CAP provided services to 400 Chautauqua County children alleged to be victims of physical and/or sexual abuse, or neglect.

CAP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending child abuse in Chautauqua County. When abuse does occur, CAP coordinates a community response to bring healing, hope and justice to children and families. CAP also provides education and awareness to adults in order to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through the Stewards of Children prevention program. CAP is a United Way Agency. To learn more about CAP visit www.capjustice.org and www.facebook.com/capjustice, or call 388-9844.