FAQ

Before Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center opened its doors, child abuse victims and their families were bounced from one agency to another – from the child welfare office, to the police department, to the hospital, to the prosecutor’s office – repeatedly telling their stories of abuse. The criminal justice system, a system primarily designed for adult perpetrators, not child victims, lacked coordination between police, child protective services, prosecution, mental health and medical agencies. Duplication of efforts, along with multiple unnecessary and traumatic interviews for the children, had become the norm in child abuse cases.

Transforming the system, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center provides a child-friendly setting where a skilled team of professionals come together under one roof to investigate serious child abuse allegations, conduct forensic interviews aiding in the prosecution of offenders, and provide therapy and victim assistance services to the child abuse victims - always keeping the best interest of the child in mind.

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center is an accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance, a member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of TX, and a United Way partner agency.

FAQ

Please choose from the following frequently asked questions.

What is Dallas Children's Advocacy Center?

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center (DCAC) is where healing begins for abused children. DCAC is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit agency that provides a coordinated, multi-agency approach to the investigation, intervention, and treatment of child sexual and physical abuse. The mission of DCAC is to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County and to provide national leadership on child abuse issues. Our facility includes DCAC's staff of specially trained forensic interviewers, therapists, and client services staff as well as Dallas Police Department's Child Abuse Unit, six units of Child Protective Services, and a Dallas County Assistant District Attorney. 

Why is DCAC necessary?

The criminal justice system, primarily designed for adult perpetrators not child victims, often lacks coordination between police, prosecution, mental health and medical agencies. Before DCAC, children were often "re-victimized" through unnecessary and repetitive interviews due to each agency's independent process. This process led to duplication of efforts between the various departments while also complicating the information for the child's case in an already complex legal system. The Center helps overcome these problems by reducing child trauma and enhancing the investigation, resulting in improved lives for child victims and a higher number of convictions for offenders. 

Who does DCAC serve?

DCAC serves the most severe and complex child abuse cases in Dallas County, those that rise to the level of a criminal offense. We serve children under the age of 17 whose case was referred by law enforcement or CPS. We serve children who are victims of criminal child abuse, or children who witnessed a violent crime. Criminal child abuse includes, but is not limited to sexual abuse, child sex trafficking and physical abuse. DCAC served over 5,000 children and their non-offending family members in 2016.

Who works at the Center?

DCAC staff consists of highly skilled direct service and nonprofit management professionals. Our direct service staff includes forensic interviews, case coordinators, family advocates and licensed therapists practicing evidenced-based therapy.

Are clients charged for services?

DCAC services are provided at no cost to the clients.

Where are you located?

The Center is located at 5351 Samuell Blvd., Dallas, TX  75228.

Are there similar centers already established in Texas or in the U.S.?

DCAC was one of the first advocacy centers to be established in Texas. There are 68 centers of varying size and scope of services in Texas and 777 advocacy centers throughout the country. Visit Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas or the National Children's Alliance for information about other Children's Advocacy Centers.

What type of services does the Center provide for a child abuse victim?

A highly trained team comprised of a police detective, assistant district attorney, Child Protective Services caseworker, forensic interviewer, therapist, and consulting physician (when required) manage each child's case. This team works together to investigate allegations of child abuse and to protect the child. Forensic interviews are conducted in an age appropriate room, with emphasis on the child's comfort, minimal number of interviews, and proper evidence collection with an unbiased, non-suggestive, non-leading interview protocol. DCAC offers child victims and non-offending caregivers with needed treatment by experienced therapists.  Modalities of therapy include art therapy, play therapy, animal assisted therapy, music therapy and therapeutic gardening. Family Assistance is provided to DCAC clients and their non-offending family members to help them understand their rights as crime victims and to assist them in accessing other community and government resources. Necessary medical exams are conducted at the REACH Clinic at Children's Health, by specially trained pediatricians using a child sensitive procedure.

How are children referred to the Center?

Children are referred through the two agencies that are mandated by the Family Code to receive reports of child abuse: Child Protective Services and all municipal law enforcement agencies in Dallas County. We do not accept walk-in clients, but can help you if you don't know what to do to access services. 

What if I suspect my child (or I child I know) is being abused?

Should you suspect that your child (or a child you know) has been abused, please call the statewide intake line of CPS at 1-800-252-5400.

How can I become involved with DCAC?

Click here to learn more about how you can make a difference at DCAC and in the lives of the most severely abused children in Dallas County.