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How to Protect Your Child
95% of children are abused by someone they know, someone they trust. Someone you know and trust. The number one thing for you to do is talk to your child. Know the signs and symptoms of abuse. We, parents have to teach our children how to be safe around people they know and strangers. Let’s educate ourselves, let’s be aware and let’s share with others.
Children’s Alliance of South Texas serves abused children, their families and the professionals dedicated to helping them. A variety of services are offered to you depending on your needs and the reason that you were referred to CAST. You can always call the Center if you have any questions or concerns.
The Children’s Alliance of South Texas, A Child Advocacy Center is a non-profit organization created to minimize the trauma of child abuse victims and to provide a multidisciplinary approach to facilitate the prevention, detection, investigation, and treatment of child abuse. Currently, we are able to offer these services free of charge thanks to: grant assistance; financial support from individuals, organizations and businesses and gifts-in-kind.
The Center’s programs include:
Why does my child need a forensic interview?
If anything happened to your child or your child witnessed something, the environment provided by the CAC and the interviewer will be a safe place for your child to tell what happened in their own words.
Interviews are only conducted for CPS, Law Enforcement agencies and occasionally the District Attorney’s Office. These agencies will follow up on any investigative needs after the interview.A specially trained forensic interviewer conducts the interview. The interviewer is trained to understand children’s language and assess children’s development. The interviewer is also trained to ask questions in a non-leading way.
What did my child say in the forensic interview?
Because each case is handled personally and individually, normally your CPS caseworker and assigned Law Enforcement personnel will determine according to their investigation what information can be shared at what time. This can be frustrating at times, but each department has complex requirements that determine how each investigation is handled.
How will my child act after the interview?
What should I say to my child after the interview?
How can I help my child?
How can I participate in my child’s treatment?
The Center is committed to providing each child the opportunity for treatment either on-site or off-site from therapists and counselors who have experience and training in working with abused children. These professionals can help decide how the abuse has affected your child and family and what can be done to assist you in healing from the experience.
Will this case end up in court?
Most cases never make it to trial. Most are handled through some type of plea arrangement. However, victims and their non-offending relatives do have input on what happens to the accused. In prosecuting a case, all parties must be ready to go to trial even though one is unlikely.
When will my child’s case go to court?
It can vary widely, depending on a number of factors. Some cases may not have enough evidence to proceed very far in the criminal justice system. A few cases may get resolved in less than a year. Many cases can easily take much more time than that. Time will allow you and your child to heal and get stronger in order to be ready for your day in court.
Why does everything take so long?
It can become frustrating when the progress of the “official” aspects of the abuse – the investigation and the legal process – seems to move so slowly. Everything must be done in certain ways and in a particular sequence. Any delay in one of the steps along the way delays the entire process waiting to follow. This does not mean the professionals involved aren’t doing their jobs or that they don’t care. Slowness can be an indication that the agencies involved are doing their jobs carefully and thoroughly. If they don’t gather all the necessary facts and evidence “before” they request that charges be filed, for example, the case may not be substantial enough to convince the prosecutor’s office that charges are justified. During this time, devote your efforts to the part of the situation over which you DO have control: helping your child and your family. If you feel you are doing something positive, the slowness of the legal process won’t be quite as frustrating. Being able to see the progress you and your family are making in how you relate to one another, seeing your child smile again-will make it easier for you to push the frustrations of any “waiting period” to the sidelines of your life.
“Multidisciplinary” is a team approach that includes the vital resources of law enforcement, Child Protective Services, Victim Service Providers, Prosecutors, Medical Personnel, Mental Health Professionals, Community Volunteers and other professionals with special skills in helping child abuse victims and their protective family members. By working together, using the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) approach, we can do a better job of helping victims recover and bringing offenders to justice.s joint investigations
(Children’s Alliance of South Texas/ Child Protective Services/ Law Enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office)
Children’s Alliance of South Texas
Children Protective Services
District Attorney’s/County Attorney’s Office