May 6, 2021 – Children’s Trust announced today the Bedford Community Foundation has awarded $10,000 to the Children’s Advocacy Center in Bedford. Thanks to the CAC and the fully developed MDT serving in the Bedford County community, these partners can now state that through collaboration, Bedford, a previously under-served area, has its own CAC office operational and serving children within the locality. This is significant in that this level of partnership allows families the ability to receive support locally rather than traveling to another CAC location in Roanoke. In addition, funding partnerships have allowed for the hiring of two full time employees, one forensic interviewer and one family advocate, thus completing the desire to offer the full range of CAC services locally to the Bedford area.

The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) at Children’s Trust coordinates a community response to child abuse bringing together the people and services a child needs during the investigation and prosecution of cases, provides an environment that is safe and child friendly, and ensures that every child gets the help he/she needs to heal physically and mentally.

Forensic interviewing services are an essential element of the CAC model, where an abused child often tells his/her experiences for the first time at the center. Children’s Trust employs a full-time interviewer who is specially trained to conduct developmentally appropriate, legally sound interviews with children who are alleged to have been abused. Interviewers are trained to put the child at ease while asking difficult questions and taking care to protect the value of the child’s report as evidence of a crime. The forensic interview is non-duplicative, non-leading and neutral in nature.

Children’s Trust consists of five programs: CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Children’s Advocacy Center, Children First Child Abuse Prevention, Healthy Families, and the Trauma Informed Community Network. These programs combine to provide public education outreach, effective advocacy, and a strong network of support for children and families and is dedicated to coordinating services that will improve the community by promoting awareness about child abuse, providing family support through education, providing a child-friendly environment for the investigation of abuse, and advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children.