Sweeney Tours Gloucester County Child Advocacy Center
Woodbury – Senate President Steve Sweeney toured the Gloucester County Child Advocacy Center in Woodbury today, getting a firsthand view of the expanded Special Victims Unit that helps to protect children from abuse in a safe and protective environment. The facility, opened in 2017, was renovated and expanded with a $300,000 grant to the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.
“This center provides a place of safety and care for children who have been victimized by abuse,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “It also offers a way of identifying and coordinating the types of services that can be provided to help young victims. This is a place where the healing can start.”
Senator Sweeney was provided a briefing on the practices and procedures used at the center.
The center provides a “child-focused” environment where trained personnel conduct interviews with children they suspect may have been abused in order to provide information to members of a multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, child protective services, medical and mental health providers, victim advocates and prosecutors.
“Our goal is to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to child abuse investigations where children are our main focus.” said Charles Fiore, the Gloucester County Prosecutor. “It’s a community based facility where children are listened to by forensic interviewers and where professionals in medical and mental health work with law enforcement and child advocates to serve the best interest of the children and their families. The CAC of Gloucester County’s multi-disciplinary approach is to provide medical and mental health services, courtroom preparation and child advocacy, and we were proud to show Senator Sweeney the important work being pursued within the center.”
“The more the public knows about CACs including detective, victim witness advocate, medical care and other resources,” said Eileen Caraker, SANE Coordinator. “The more likely people are to go forward to begin the healing process after they disclose an abuse.”
The facility also makes space available to other agencies, including the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency and the Center for Family Services.