The Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) of Hernando County is a child-friendly facility that responds to children who are child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, threatened harm, drug-endangerment, mental injury, neglect and witnesses of domestic violence. The program utilizes a nationally-recognized multidisciplinary team approach that includes the following partners:
The primary goal of the Children's Advocacy Center is to reduce the trauma experienced by child abuse victims by ensuring a coordinated response and investigation that avoids multiple, redundant forensic interviews by law enforcement, the judicial system and mental health system. Doing so ensures a response that is sensitive to the child's emotional and developmental needs, while also preventing re-victimization experienced by multiple interviews.
Who is Eligible:
Children ages 0-17 who are victims of alleged physical or sexual abuse, victims of neglect, human trafficking victims, drug endangered children, or children who witness domestic violence. Non-offending caregivers may also be eligible for services.
The Children's Advocacy Center provides comprehensive, coordinated multidisciplinary services designed to reduce the stress a child experiences through the investigative process. Services provided at the CAC include, forensic interviews, specialized interviews, social assessments, forensic medical exams, multi-disciplinary team staffing, advocacy, deposition and court accompaniment, case management, as well as individual therapy for child victims and 10-week support groups for non-offending caregivers.
The Children's Advocacy Center is funded through a variety of sources including:
Appointments made by referral only. For more information contact 352-754-8809.
Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday 8:00 am. to 4:30 pm.
Service Location: Hernando County
How You Can Help: Snacks and Monetary Donations Accepted
Annual Designer Purse Bingo
Alicia, a student at USF, thought her life was falling apart when she discovered her husband had been molesting their 8-year old daughter, but the CAC was there for her, providing counseling, case management and support from the criminal justice system - even advocating on their behalf so that she could financially stand on her own two feet. She participated in Lauren's Walk to help raise awareness for there victims of sexual abuse. As a result of their experience at the CAC, Alicia has decided to change her major at USF to Social Work so that she can help others in their time of need.
One of the Children's Advocacy Center's (CAC) child sexual abuse victims, "Susie", had to fly out of state to testify at the trial of her perpetrator. Susie had a long history of distrust and shutting down when talking about the abuse. CAC's advocate was able to talk to Susie several times prior to flying and then accompanied her to court for five days while she testified. With that support, Susie was able to focus and provide effective testimony that ultimately resulted in the perpetrator's conviction and prison sentence of 25 years to life.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Hernando County (CAC) held their 3rd Annual Designer Purse Bingo on September 22, 2016. Tickets sold out weeks in advance of the big event with more than 400 people in attendance! This year, over $35,000 was raised, which is a substantial increase from last year!
It was a fun, exciting night with 14 designer purses given away to the winner of each round of bingo. The lucky winner of the bonus round won a Louis Vuitton purse valued at $1,820!
Florida State Representative Blaise Ingoglia, the emcee for the night, kept the crowd amused and engaged with his dynamic personality.
S. is a 17 year old girl who came to therapy experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and impulsive behavior. She had been making bad decisions, (i.e., sneaking out of the house, inappropriate social media behavior) and was feeling more and more detached from her family. S. had been adopted at the age of 10, following years of substance misuse, transience, and exposure to sexually inappropriate behavior by her biological mother. She was removed and placed in foster care with a non relative, a surrogate grandmother, then had to be removed from her care. During these traumas, S. herself was victimized once at the age of 5, and again twice more in the next two years. When S. came to services, she was reluctant, stating that she was scared of facing things, and experienced depression, nightmares, fear, and suicidal thoughts. S. was able to build a strong rapport with her therapist, and to begin to talk about her experiences in a safe, non-judgmental, relaxed way. In time she began sleeping better, coping better, and making better choices. S. participated in a therapy known as TIR, Traumatic Incident Reduction, with her therapist, which lead to a change in her perspective and outlook that made it easier for her to be successful. S. graduated from high school in 2016 and is now enrolled in college.
"You have been such an amazing light in my life. Talking to you and seeing things from a different perspective has really changed the way I look at things and go about my daily life in a good way. Never would I have imagined that the deepest things that bothered me the most would one day never bother me again and that would not be possible if it was not for you. It is crazy to think how the first session I wanted nothing to do with another round of counseling and now here I am not wanting to leave. You have left such an impact on my life that will do nothing but benefit me from here on out. I can not thank you enough and if I could, I would. Thank you again for helping me become a better person." - S.