Since 1994, the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass has worked to coordinate the investigative, legal, advocacy, medical and mental health treatment services under one roof to better serve child victims of sexual abuse. While children once had to navigate a difficult and confusing system with multiple, repetitive interviews and exams, the system can now be brought to the child. The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass is modeled on the simple but powerful concept of coordination between community agencies and professionals involved in the system.
Ray Larson, Commonwealth Attorney, asked to a committee to review the way child sexual abuse cases were being handled in Fayette County. Mr. Larson also wanted to develop a multidisciplinary team model for investigation, intervention and prosecution of child sexual abuse cases.
Representatives from various agencies visited the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The multidisciplinary team, who review child sexual abuse cases for Fayette County, was established.
Board of directors was established and incorporated the Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass as a non-profit organization. The Board consists of 21 members and 5 ex-officio members. These members represent a variety of professions and agencies that deal with child sexual abuse investigations.
A board member discovered a house for sale that would make a perfect site for the Children’s Advocacy Center. We began leasing this home, but in 1994 the Lexington Urban County Council awarded a Community Development Block Grant to purchase the site. We have a 20-year ghost mortgage on the home.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass, Inc. opened its doors. The center had one staff member at that point, the Executive Director.
The first Kids In Court Program was offered to children in the community.
A physician from the Fayette County Health Department began performing child sexual abuse exams at the Center.
A Family Advocate was hired to work with victims and their families. This position was funded by the Victims of Crime Act.
Non-offending Parent Support Group began meeting every Wednesday evening.
Kids Art Group began. A Teen Girls Support Group began.
A child victim therapist employed by the Bluegrass Regional Mental Health/ Mental Retardation Board began offering services at the Center. This position is also Victims of Crime Act funded.
An addition was added to the house to allow for a larger medical clinic, a therapist office and a multi disciplinary team room.
Physicians from the University of Kentucky began conducting child sexual abuse exams at the Center. A coordinator for the clinic was hired from the University and located at the Center full-time.
A Child Victim Advocate was hired to work with victims and their families. This position was funded by the Victims of Crime Act.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass created a training program for physicians and medical providers. The training provided support and equipment to medical providers in Appalachia Kentucky conducting child sexual abuse examinations. This innovative project has been recognized by the Royal Society of Telemedicine in London, England.
An administrative assistant was hired full-time to handle the Centers bookkeeping and payroll.
A medical clinic coordinator was hired by the Center to support the medical staff at the Center.
The Center provided training for multi disciplinary teams in the Bluegrass Region. Training over two hundred law enforcement officers, social workers, prosecutors, victims advocates and medical professionals in responding to child sexual abuse.
The center relocated to a new location on North Ashland Avenue. The new building provides the staff at the CACBG with more space and better facilities to serve families in central Kentucky.