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What is a
Child Advocacy Center?

A Child Advocacy Center (CAC), like The Center for Safe & Healthy Children, is a safe place for children to share their story in their own words with a team of experts who will listen to them, protect them, and help them heal. 

To best understand a Child Advocacy Center, you must first understand what children face without one. 

Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again — to doctors, police, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble. Or they may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher that could hurt the case against the abuser.

When police or child protective services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC - a safe, child-focused environment - by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not re-traumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and others make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview.

CACs offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs. 

The Center for Safe & Healthy Children

The Child Advocacy Center for Hancock County

Our Mission

The Center's mission to minimize the trauma experienced by child abuse victims by providing a safe, caring facility as well as a multidisciplinary response through prevention, intervention, and advocacy.

Our History

In 2004 various members of the Hancock County law enforcement community recognized that the current child abuse investigation procedures were ineffective. Victims were interviewed at school or at the police station with numerous people present, making the disclosure difficult and uncomfortable for the victim.

As a result, a multidisciplinary team was founded to create a county-wide abuse protocol. And in 2006, The Center for Safe & Healthy Children opened its doors.

In 2010, the Center moved to downtown Findlay and then again to Chapel Drive behind Blanchard Valley Hospital in 2012. The Center moved to its current location on Merriweather Drive in 2019.

Today, the Center works with prosecutors, doctors and counselors to help children who have been victimized, and is involved in community engagement programs discussing child abuse and human trafficking.