Amid fake news, false advertising and flat out lying, it seems like it gets harder and harder to discern fact from fiction, quality from mediocrity or expert from amateur. When it comes to your children, you have to be sure. That’s why we always recommend caregivers research and feel comfortable asking questions of daycares, sports organizations, church groups or any youth serving organization.
So what gives Ray of Hope Advocacy Center any level of quality or expertise? How can you feel confident in our ability to effectively and efficiently respond to child abuse in our community while always putting the child’s needs first? How do you trust that we are any good at responding to child abuse?
Ray of Hope Advocacy Center is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) and was awarded re-accreditation in January 2017 following an extensive application and site review process. Accreditation is the highest level of membership with NCA and denotes excellence in service provision.
NCA is the accrediting body for more than 750 child advocacy centers throughout the United States and evaluates each agency every five years. Re-accreditation requires months of preparation and paperwork by the child advocacy center. NCA assesses based on strict guidelines and standards including:
- Multidisciplinary Teams: A functioning and effective multidisciplinary team (MDT) is the foundation of a child advocacy center (CAC). An MDT is a group of professionals from specific, distinct disciplines that collaborates in an effort to reduce potential trauma to children and families. MDT members include Law Enforcement, Child Protective Services, Medical Providers, Mental Health Providers, Victim Advocates and Prosecutors.
- Cultural Competency and Diversity: Cultural competency is a fundamental component of the CAC philosophy and helps effectively meet the needs of the children and families we serve.
- Forensic Interviews: The purpose of the Forensic Interview is to obtain information from a child about abuse allegations that will support accurate and fair decision making by the MDT.
- Victim Support and Advocacy: Children and families in crisis need assistance in navigating the multiple systems involved in the CAC response. Research demonstrates that parent/caregiver support is essential to reducing trauma and improving outcomes for children.
- Medical Evaluation: All children who are suspected victims of child abuse are entitled to medical evaluation with a provider with specialized training. This includes both the collection of evidence and medical evaluation to make sure that children’s bodies are healthy and healing.
- Mental Health: Without effective therapeutic interventions, many traumatized children will suffer ongoing or long-term adverse social, emotional, developmental and health outcomes that may affect them throughout their lifetimes.
- Case Review: A formal process in which multidisciplinary discussion and information sharing regarding the investigation, case status and services needed by the child and family.
- Case Tracking: CACs must develop and implement a system for monitoring case progress and tracking case outcomes.
- Organization Capacity: Ensures that a designated, legal entity is responsible for programs and fiscal operations.
- Child-Focused Setting: A child-focused setting is comfortable, private and both physically and psychologically safe for diverse populations of children and their family members.
So while of course we wish no child ever has to experience abuse or neglect, we are proud that Ray of Hope serves local child abuse victims with the highest standards of care – not just in our opinion but on an objective, certified, national scale.