CAC Process & Services

Initiation of a referral/case: 
A referral to the MDT process comes through two main avenues 
1) A child protective report through the State Central Registry. 
Only one has to have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse means. Based on observations, words, professional training and experience you suspect someone such as a parent, guardian or other person 18 or older who is considered responsible for the child, is harming or placing a child in danger or harm. 

One should call the New York State (NYS) State Central Registry (SCR) hotline: 
Mandated Reporter: 1 (800) 635-1522 
General Public: 1 (800) 342-3750 

When making a report you will be asked for information to identify and locate the child and someone who is legally responsible for the child. This may include the child's name and age, address, name or names of the guardian, type of abuse, name if the person committing the abuse and what the relationship may be with the child. Even if you do not have this information, you can call the SCR and try to make the report. Local CPS and Law Enforcement have expertise in locating missing details. Please do not ask the child or continue to ask the child about what happened as this can taint the investigation. 

2) The SCR determines, when you call, if the report is a CPS report, a Law Enforcement Referral (LER) or both and will send the report to the appropriate jurisdiction (where alleged crime occurred) and county CPS. Law Enforcement and/or CPS will contact the appropriate caregiver to assure the child is safe and not in the presence of the alleged suspect. A visit to the Madison County Children's Advocacy is scheduled for the child to be interviewed by trained personnel. 

Forensic Interview: 
The first, and most important, step in the investigative process is to forensically interview the child and obtain a statement, if there is a disclosure. A forensic interview of a child is a sensitive method of gathering information regarding allegations of abuse and/or exposure to violence. This is conducted by a trained professional in forensic interviewing, Best practices or Child First , as part of a larger investigative process. On the day of the interview, the Family/Victim Advocate meets with the child and their caregiver at the CAC. The caregiver may meet with law enforcement and child protective personnel before and/or after the child's interview to gather information and to discuss next steps. 

Family Advocacy: 
The Family Advocate provides support, information, service possibilities and answers questions the care providers may have. Body safety booklets are given to use with the child and other children in the family for prevention. 

The family advocate works with the family and child to make appropriate referrals such as medical, counseling and any service or support the child/family could use. The advocate also talks to the family about Office of Victim Services (OVS). 

Court Support: 
For the cases involved in either criminal court or family court, the District Attorney's office and/or advocate will notify the family of court dates and procedures, prep for court and provide support during a trial.