Your child has been referred to DCCSAN to talk to one of our trained, caring interviewers.
Before talking with your child, our interviewer will meet with the law enforcement investigator and/or child protection worker. A DCCSAN staff member will also will talk with you. We will ask you if there is anything we should know about your child’s feelings, language skills or special needs. The interviewer then will talk to your child.
The interview, which takes 20-60 minutes, will be video taped. During your child’s interview, you will meet with a DCCSAN advocate. The advocate wants to find out how you are feeling and will talk with you about mental health resources that can help you and your child. The advocate also will provide you with information to help in your child’s healing.
DCCSAN is the coordinator for the Delaware County Multidisciplinary Team. Our Multidisciplinary Team meets once a week to discuss the current cases of child abuse in our county. We bring representatives from law enforcement, DHS, mental health, medical and the staff at DCCSAN together, to conduct comprehensive joint investigations. The MDT makes decisions regarding the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases in Delaware County.
Interview – When children are brought to DCCSAN by Law Enforcement or DHS Child Protective Services, a Forensic Interview is conducted with the child. The Forensic Interviewer is a highly trained professional who conducts the interview in a non-leading, non-biased and legally Sound manner. Most of the children who come to DCCSAN for a Forensic Interview have already disclosed the abuse to someone. The Forensic Interview allows the children to tell what happened in a safe, child-friendly environment. The interview is video recorded reducing the number of times the child is interviewed, insuring that the child is not re-traumatized. The Forensic Interview is used as evidence throughout the investigation process. Unfortunately, today’s laws still require the child's testimony in court.
Evaluation – In most child abuse investigations, the efforts of the MDT and DCCSAN yield adequate information for decision making regarding prosecution and child protective issues. In some cases, however, the team needs additional information due to serious concerns that children may have been abused, but are unwilling or unable to talk freely about their experiences.
Specialized medical evaluation and treatment services are available to all DCCSAN clients. To assure that the child receives this specialized medical evaluation the Forensic Interviewer will make arrangements for our Certified Sexual Abuse Examiner to examine the victim when the Investigator or the District Attorney's office feels that an exam is warranted. Sexual Abuse Exams are conducted off site, with our Sexual Abuse Examiner.
The Delaware County Children’s Special Advocacy Network (DCCSAN) was the vision of the district attorney, child protective services (CPS) and a therapist. They saw a need to deal with the serious issue of child abuse in Delaware County by implementing a team approach. They formed a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) made up of the district attorney, law enforcement, child protective services and other agencies dealing with child abuse in the county. In September of 1994, the team established DCCSAN to provide a child focused setting and to provide services to victims of child abuse. DCCSAN became a fully accredited member of NCA in March 1997. We were re-accredited in October, 2008. DCCSAN continues to provide,forensic interviewing, counseling, multidisciplinary team coordination, case tracking court preparation, and crisis intervention children of Delaware County.
DCCSAN subscribes to NCAtrak. NCAtrak is a computerized, web-based case tracking system that was developed by the National Children’s Alliance to help Child Advocacy Centers track specific case information. The information collected over the year provides statistical information about child abuse in Delaware County that is provided to potential grantors, MDT and the community.
A crisis refers to any situation in which the individual perceives a sudden loss of his or her ability to use effective problem-solving and coping skills. Crisis intervention is offering immediate, short-term help to individuals who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, or behavioral distress or problems. Crisis intervention is focused on minimizing the stress of the event, providing emotional support and improving the individual’s coping strategies in the here and now. Crisis Intervention is available to victims and their families. This service is coordinated by our victim advocate and provided by our mental health professional.
DCCSAN offers free Safe Touch presentation to the public schools and head start programs in Delaware Co. each year. We also offer a prevention presentation on (what child abuse is and how to report), to any organization in our community that is interested. Please contact us if you would like DCCSAN to do a child abuse presentation for your organization.
If a child is asked to testify in court, our therapist will work directly with the child and parents/guardian in preparation for court. We work in conjunction with the DA in charge of the case and the District Court Victim Witness Coordinator to insure the child is prepared mentally for the court process.
DCCSAN’s Victim Advocate meets with the family at the time of the forensic interview or medical assessment to offer support. The advocate’s responsibility is to assist the non offending parent/caregiver when they are experiencing emotional turmoil, and help them to make healthy, rational decisions, so they can better support the child. The Advocate provides ongoing assistance to the family throughout the investigation including updates on the progress of the criminal investigation, and links the family with resources in the community.