Impact of Children's Advocacy Centers on Child Abuse and Neglect

In 2014, the Children's Advocacy Centers in Florida served over 34,000 children who were victims of child abuse or neglect.

  • 59% of the victims were female and 41% were male
  • 40% of the victims were between the ages of 0 and 6
  • 37% of the victims suffered from sexual abuse; 31% from physical abuse; and 14% suffered from neglect
  • The children received 58,077 therapy services; 17,297 crisis intervention services; 13,237 medical evaluations; and 21,872 forensic/specialized interviews.

In 2006, researchers at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire released findings from the five-year multi-site national evaluation of the CAC model. Data from over 1,000 cases of sexual abuse handled by communities with and without a CAC were collected and subject to comparison analysis. Some highlights of the findings include:

  • CACs showed significantly more  evidence of coordinated investigations
  • More children involved with a CAC received a specialized medical evaluation
  • More children involved in a CAC were referred to mental health services 
  • Parents and caregivers of  children served by CACs were more satisfied with the investigation (than those  in comparison sample)

Cross, T.P., Jones, L.M., Walsh, W.A., Simone, M., Kolko, D.J., Szczepanski, J., Lippert, T., Davison, K., Cryns, A., Sosnowski, P., Shadoin, A., and Magnuson, S. (2008), Evaluating children's advocacy centers' response to child sexual abuse. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 1-12.

​In 2005, the National Children's Advocacy Center in Huntsville,  Alabama conducted a national cost-benefit analysis of the Children's Advocacy Center model showing that Children's Advocacy Centers save approximately $1,000 per case in services to children and families during the course of a child abuse investigation.  On a per-case basis, traditional investigations were 36% more expensive than a CAC investigation. The cost of a Children's Advocacy Center investigation averaged $2,902 compared to $3,949 for a traditional abuse investigation.

For more information, please read the Executive Summary of Findings from the NCAC Cost-Benefit Analysis of Community Responses to Child Maltreatment.  To read the full study, please click here.