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Children’s center protects and serves abused child victims

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Anderson County (CAC) is a special place where physically or sexually abused local children go for healing and help. Abused children are our most tender victims and are often in desperate need of help that is gentle and specialized.

The CAC has a child friendly environment designed to make young victims feel safe and comfortable. Children receive services that include medical exams and specialized photography of any injuries.

Instead of the child having many interviews in different and sometimes frightening places, there is one interview at the CAC performed by investigators who are experts in interviewing abused children.

Police officers, prosecutors, DCS investigators and sometimes psychological and medical professionals remotely observe the interview and provide guidance to the interviewer through an electronic earpiece.

Children who are abused often require and benefit from psychological counseling.

The CAC is a licensed mental health care facility.

Children often come back to the CAC for specialized counseling services from professionals that are trained, equipped and experienced in addressing these cases.

Sadly, the existence of child abuse is not surprising. However, it has been professionally jarring to observe that there are over 1,000 reports of physical or sexual abuse of children in Anderson County each year.

These victims come from Oak Ridge, Clinton, Oliver Springs, Rocky Top, Norris and the unincorporated areas of our County. Victims come from all backgrounds, income levels and ethnicities.

The CAC is more than just a place. In counties that have a CAC, state law requires that those protecting and providing services to abused children meet monthly to discuss and make recommendations about each child’s case.

This includes all of our police agencies, the District Attorney, DCS, Children’s Hospital, Juvenile Court and others. In this manner, children’s cases are organized and investigated and everyone works together.

This also means that the children get better services, they are more likely to recover emotionally and those guilty of hurting them are more likely to be brought to justice and prevented from hurting them or another child in the future.

Started in 2007, The Anderson County CAC is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization that relies upon grants and charitable donations to support services to our children. In addition to being a licensed mental health care facility, the CAC is nationally accredited in its field.

As your new DA in 2006, I argued that Anderson County’s children deserved the services and comprehensive approach of a CAC.

Many dedicated people and organizations worked to make that dream a reality. As a result of their work, thousands of children have been helped.

After a decade working with our CAC, I can proudly report that our CAC has helped countless children and families.

Criminal cases bringing those responsible for abusing our children to justice are stronger as a result of the work of the CAC. In short, the CAC compassionately heals and protects our children and makes our community better and safer.