The impetus for the establishment of the Children’s Advocacy Center was a desire to cluster the child protection agencies involved with investigation and treatment of sexual abuse cases in Chicago under one roof, allowing for better communication and cooperation between agencies, and most importantly, to provide a non-threatening environment in which to treat the victims of this abuse.
Created to provide sexually abused children from throughout the city with a wide array of social services at a single location, the Center features a kid-friendly design with bright colors, fancifully angled windows and play areas. Even the scale of the building was purposely reduced to make children feel more comfortable.
Renowned Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman designed the original 24,000-square-foot facility, incorporating child-friendly elements in each aspect of the design. The interior and exterior of our building are brightly colored to mimic a playhouse or castle that a child might design. Windows within the building sit low so that children can see out and plenty of light can come in. The entire space was designed as a figure-8 so no hallways had dead ends. The $8.5 million Center contains a medical clinic, observation rooms, counseling areas and other resources to give comprehensive assistance to abused children.
The Center provides intensive advocacy for children–this includes providing education, support groups, social and child life services, mental health resources, crisis intervention, and court accompaniments. With the establishment of the Center, all child sexual abuse reports in Chicago come to one place. Over 3,000 children a year are served at this facility. Along with Advocacy Center staff, the new building houses officials from the Chicago Police Department, Cook County State’s Attorney, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Cook County Bureau of Health Services and other counselors and volunteers.
“The unique nature of the ChicagoCAC is the collaboration. We are the only organization in the City that does this collaborative work with the Chicago Police Department, Department of Children and Family Services, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and Stroger Hospital. We do it all in this child-friendly Center.” – Char Rivette, Executive Director, Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center
Funding assistance to the City of Chicago was provided by the governments of Cook County and the State of Illinois.
The grand opening of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center was August 4, 2001.
View information on this facility’s expansion here.