What is "Child Advocacy"?
Child Advocate - person or organization who works to protect children's rights, especially when the law has been broken.
CASA is a well-known organization that provides extensive volunteer training for Court-appointed Special Advocates, who help walk a kid through a trial involving them.
Every county in the United States is required to have a Child Advocacy Center (CAC). CACs vary in the depth and breadth of the services they offer, however, all CACs provide help for children ages 1 month to 18 or 21 years old and are staffed with social workers and therapists.
The New Orleans CAC incorporates medical staff from Children's Hospital and works closely with the NOPD. This means that often in one office visit, children who've been abused can have their forensic medical examination and be recorded telling the story of their abuse to a trained Forensic Interviewer. A detective is often watching the interview live from a closed circuit, so that police statements, court records, and medical records can be gathered at the same time, with the child only having to tell her/his story once.
In a Child Advocacy Center, almost every detail is carefully curated to be trauma-sensitive. The interview rooms are cheerful and welcoming, many CACs use stuffed animals or blankets to help the child relax. Snacks, and sometimes even meals, are provided to the family members waiting in the waiting room. Families of abused children leave a CAC with a specific, professionally vetted plan to treat the effects of abuse.