Children’s Advocacy Center

The Champion for Children’s Advocacy Center

The Champion for Children Advocacy Center has been in operation since 1998. The Advocacy Center is truly a private/public partnership, established through strong community support and ongoing efforts of the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners, Children’s Services Council, and Champion for Children Foundation.

The purpose of the Champion for Children Advocacy Center is to minimize trauma of child abuse victims and provide prevention support to those families needing assistance when there is likelihood a future abuse report may be generated. The center collaboratively coordinates all disciplines in the abuse field, bringing them together at the Advocacy Center to interview, evaluate, and collectively make decisions in the best interest of the child. The center’s response reduces trauma to the victim, aids in more immediate follow-ups on child abuse reports, makes offenders more accountable for their actions, reduces costly and repetitious interviews, aids in more complete medical and mental health referrals, and eliminates the duplication of efforts among agencies working in this arena.

The Advocacy Center provides a child-friendly facility, where victims of abuse can come and feel safe. Children are better protected and their healing is more complete. It is one of a handful in the state of Florida, and was accredited by the National Children’s Alliance in its first year of operation. Partner agencies include the Department of Children and Families Investigators, State Attorney’s Office, forensic interviewers, medical technicians, victim advocates, law enforcement, child psychologists, and Guardian Ad Litem. The Champion for Children Foundation is blessed to serve as an ongoing nonprofit partner agency within the Advocacy Center, providing financial assistance and support to victims, at-risk children, and families in need.

Since its opening in October  of 1998, the Children’s Advocacy Center has served thousands of children cooperatively, because it shouldn’t hurt to be a kid.