Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi (CACM) is an accredited chapter of the National Children’s Alliance.
As a membership organization with numerous local Advocacy Centers throughout the state, we bring together multidisciplinary teams to streamline the process of child abuse situations. Our goal is always to put the needs of the child first, and we bring all services under one umbrella. By bringing together many disciplines, including law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental and/or medical health, victim advocacy and child advocacy, we work together to conduct interviews and make team decisions about investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases.
The mission of CACM is to support the development and continuation of children's advocacy centers that meet the accreditation standards of the National Children's Alliance and to improve the ability and skill of Mississippi's child abuse professionals to better serve victims of child abuse.
The Children's Advocacy Centers of Mississippi (CACM) was developed by a group of CAC directors that recognized the need to provide consistent and quality services to the entire state. CACM is a non-profit organization that was incorporated in 2009 and operates within the meaning of 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. CACM is an Accredited Chapter through the National Children's Alliance.
In 1990, the state’s first children’s advocacy center was established in Jackson – Mississippi Children’s Advocacy Center. As the years passed, more and more CACs were formed in Mississippi, and in 2001, Mississippi Children’s Alliance formed as a state chapter of the National Children’s Alliance with all Mississippi CACs as member centers.
In 2002, Senate Bill 2413 passed, recognizing CACs as members of the Multidisciplinary Team and endorsing the Team approach to investigating and prosecuting child abuse in Mississippi.
Mississippi Children’s Alliance became Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi in 2005. Five years later, CACM received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS, along with its charity registration with the Secretary of State’s Office.
CACM received National Children’s Alliance Chapter Accreditation in 2011. In 2012, CACM received support from the State of Mississippi for training of Multidisciplinary Team members and the expansion of CAC services.
CACM supports local Mississippi agencies that are seeking accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance. The following program components are necessary for accredited membership in National Children’s Alliance:
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Child abuse is a difficult topic, but a conversation that we must have with our community, with our families, and with our policy-makers.
We must think about how we can collectively work together to gain momentum in solving this issue. Not my part and your part. But instead, our part. Together we can find the best path to help move victims to survivors. There is power in our collective voices and the only way to end child abuse is to start the conversation and then take action.
It is a lofty goal to defeat child abuse, but we are not scared off by the challenge. Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi is taking this through two approaches – one is the immediate response and the other a long-term solution. First, we support child advocacy centers and multidisciplinary teams which address abuse as soon as it is reported to provide hope and healing for child victims. Secondly, we are helping to develop Child Advocacy Studies at the colleges and universities to better prepare our workforce and provide a long range solution. I encourage you to learn more about both of these important programs through our website and help us take action to end child abuse.
Over the next year, I challenge each of you to consider how you expand your knowledge in this field and be a champion for child victims of abuse. Whether it is donating to a local child advocacy center or attending a mandated reporting training, you have a choice to become a champion for child victims.
Every child deserves the compassionate services of a child advocacy center, and together we can make Mississippi a safe, happy place for our children. However, remember, it isn’t just up to the professionals to be that voice for the child. You are a part of the solution, too.
Join us on the journey to end child abuse.
Karla Steckler Tye
Check out more about Children's Advocacy Centers of Mississippi and the support and training we provide.