First Witness Child Advocacy Center (CAC) was founded by and for the community and has been serving children and families since 1991.
First Witness CAC brings together a collaborative multidisciplinary team of professionals made up of law enforcement, social workers, doctors, therapists, advocates, prosecutors, and public defender’s office. Our dedicated team members work together to investigate child abuse and coordinate needed services.
We provide forensically sound interviews for children, adolescents, and vulnerable adults who have reported sexual abuse, physical abuse, witnessed violence, or who may have been otherwise victimized. Our interviews provide a safe and comfortable space for victims to talk about the abuse in one video recorded interview by a trained professional.
The report of abuse is not the end but rather the beginning. Our family advocates help parents understand the system and professionals involved and connect children and families with resources in their community. First Witness CAC offers in-depth initial and ongoing advocacy for children and families.
Our Mission is to strengthen our community’s response to child abuse.
Our Vision is of a society that supports children and ends child abuse.
Inherent Dignity, Rights, and the Best Interests of Children, Youth, and Vulnerable Adults
We believe in the inherent dignity and the equitable and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.
As part of the human family, every child, adolescent, and vulnerable adult is our future. They are entitled to special care, protection, and assistance so they will be fully prepared to live in society as valued members of communities.
In all our actions, their best interests shall be a primary consideration. We believe in and work with families’ self-identified needs and walk with them in achieving their goals.
We embrace all types of families and support their growth, and wellbeing. We believe they must be accorded protection and assistance so that all family members can fully assume their responsibilities and contributions to their communities.
We notice, feel, and respond to the pain, needs, and challenges of children, adolescents, vulnerable adults, and their families in our communities. We recognize our interconnectedness and the necessity of working together to create communities that are just and free of child abuse.
Cultural humility goes beyond the concept of cultural competence and includes:
Developing Cultural Awareness
We are committed to self-evaluation and self-critique to identify our own individual culture, our organizational culture, and prepare us to recognize the culture of others. This process helps us to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. · This is our basis for individuals and systems to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, children, families, and communities and protects and preserves the inherent dignity of each.
We will develop an understanding of power dynamics and imbalances. are committed to fixing those imbalances through developing partnerships with people and groups who advocate for a just community where children are safe. We will work across systems and with community partners engaging in analysis and action to remove barriers to equity.
We will fully integrate the culture of diverse groups into our services, work, and organization.
We recognize the historical trauma that many in our community have experienced.
We treat every family in an equitable way, bearing in mind their individual lived experiences and self-identified needs.
We prioritize principles of cultural humility and anti-oppressive practices in our work and decision making.
We will manage our organization in a manner that combines people, programming, and financial resources that can be sustained over the long term. Sustainability also ensures that our organization is nimble, flexible, and adaptable to quickly changing conditions, be they financial or responding to the changing needs of children and families in our communities.
We will proactively and consistently identify the needs of our communities, be open to changing directions and programs, and have the fortitude to take risks to achieve our vision and mission.
Efficient and Effective Practices
We assure effective practices for our organization through an active Board and Committees, strong leadership, established processes, regular and ongoing evaluation of programs, annual fundraising plans, goals and practices, and written policies and procedures for efficient operations.
Collaboration With and Commitment to Systems Change
We believe that collaboration is essential. We work within a holistic multidisciplinary team and with organizations in our communities to ensure that children are protected, their best interests are served, and that they may grow and flourish in our just and safe communities.
We believe that a systems approach is necessary to better the lives of children and families. We are committed to initiating, continually improving, and integrating systems responsiveness in creating safety, justice, and violence free lives for all children.
We strive to create a vibrant, strengths-based workplace that provides the conditions for children, families, staff, and volunteers to participate from a place of capacity and equity.
We believe that every family has the right to identify their needs and using a holistic program model move forward.
In 2021 we facilitated…
Increase in Forensic Interviews Since 2011
Professionals Trained in ChildFirst® Forensic Interviewing Protocol
Advocates Trained Nationwide
Prevention Education Presentations to 3109 Students, Caregivers, and Teachers
New Children and Parents/Caregivers Served by Family Advocates
Presentations to 530 Individuals in Local Civic Groups, Churches, and College Classrooms