As a Children’s Advocacy Center, we have a distinct and multifaceted role within our Cape Cod Community. We work collaboratively with social service agencies, law enforcement, the District Attorney’s office, and the community to provide a coordinated response to child abuse. Because of that a lot of questions come up as to what we do (and what we don’t do.) These are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.
What is Children’s Cove?
Children’s Cove is the Child Advocacy Center for the Cape & Islands. We provide a multi-disciplinary response to child victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, witness to domestic violence and commercial sexual exploitation.
Why is Children’s Cove necessary?
Without a Children’s Cove, child victims would have to talk about what has happened to them, sometimes the worst event of their life, repeatedly to different people. With Children’s Cove, we provide a safe and child friendly environment where a child may only need to talk about what has happened to them once to one person. This makes it less traumatic for a child, and allows investigators to get all of the information they need without repeated questioning.
How is Children’s Cove funded?
Children’s Cove is a Barnstable County organization, and more than 65% of our funding is from Cape Cod taxpayers. The rest of our funding comes from state funded or national grants.
What services are provided to children and families?
Children who have disclosed abuse would come in to have a forensic interview. After the interview is over the child has the option of medical services to make sure their bodies are ok, and the child and non-offending family would have access to on-going family advocacy to connect them to resources in the community as well as mental health coordination, to find a clinician that is a good fit. To learn more, visit our Accessing Services page.
Who does Children’s Cove serve?
Children’s Cove provides services to child victims aged 0-17 and their non-offending families or caregivers, as well as adult victims who have developmental disabilities. We serve all of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Where is Children’s Cove?
Children’s Cove is centrally located on Cape Cod in Hyannis. Due to our commitment to the safety and security of child victims and their non-offending family members we do not publish our address and only disclose it when we are scheduling an interview with a family member or caregiver.
Do kids live at Children’s Cove?
No, while our building layout is like a house, no one lives at Children’s Cove.
Is there a charge for services?
No, no one who has been a victim of abuse should have to pay for our services. All our services are free and our family advocate works with non-offending caregivers to find supports and services that are available for reduced or no cost in our community. Through the generosity of community agencies, we can provide transportation if needed to our center, including from Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.
How are children referred to Children’s Cove?
When a child has made a disclosure, a report to law enforcement, or the Department of Children and Families, needs to happen. Once they have received the report they coordinate with us and the non-offending caregiver to schedule an interview with Children’s Cove. In some cases, families may only have a question or would like their child to have an appropriate therapy referral. Calling our program will connect you to someone who can help navigate the best options to support a child in need.
What do I do if I suspect abuse?
If you suspect abuse, or have reviewed our Signs and Symptoms of Abuse page, and believe a child is in danger then it is important to get help for the child in need of support. Click the Get Help button for directions on how to get help. If you have questions about what to do or how to report, call us.
Why do CACs exist, what is their origin?
In 1985, Former Alabama Congressman Robert E. “Bud” Cramer, who was then a District Attorney, organized an effort to formulate a child and family-focused response to the investigation and service delivery process to allegations and disclosures of child sexual abuse. Child victims were often further traumatized by repeated or repetitive interviews by a variety of services or individuals. Often, child victims were interviewed in the same location and manner as their alleged perpetrator. In response to needing a better system to support child victims of sexual abuse, the first Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) was formed in 1985 in Alabama which brought the necessary disciplines for a comprehensive response together forming what we call the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT).
What can I do to help?
If you are a parent, we encourage you to visit the resources and information available on our website for how to teach your children about body safety. If you are a community member and would like to raise awareness about Children’s Cove or child sexual abuse issues, please consider volunteering for us. To learn more visit our Volunteer page.