In light of the health concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, our office is taking extra precautions for the safety of our clients, staff, and community partners. The office, specifically public use spaces, will be cleaned and disinfected as thoroughly as possible between each family's visit.
PCAC provides a comfortable, child-friendly environment to talk with children. We assist in the coordination of investigations so that agencies work together in child abuse cases. And, we help victims and families find the support they need throughout the process.
For Caregivers: The Law Enforcement (LE) and/or Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) agency working with your family will schedule an appointment on your behalf. When you come to PCAC, a family advocate will meet with you to gather family information, and explain the process of speaking with your child. A specially trained interviewer will talk with your child about the situation. The interview process is designed to help your child feel at ease. Our goal is for your child to leave with a feeling that he/she would come back without hesitation if ever needed.
The Forensic Interview...what you and your child can expect
After speaking with your child, the interviewer and investigative team will meet with you to discuss the outcome of the interview and 'next-step' options, and answer any questions you may have. The interviewer may have recommendations for what's best for you and your family and can assist in making necessary referrals to such services. If a Forensic Medical Exam* is recommended, the interviewer or an advocate will assist with making the necessary referral.
For Children: You can explain the visit to your child by informing him/her that when they first get to PCAC, they'll hang out in the playroom where they can play, color, read books, and/or watch (child-appropriate) programs and movies. After a brief time, the interviewer will meet with your child to find out more about them. Children are welcome to engage in different activities during the interview if that makes them more comfortable - draw or color, perhaps play with Play-doh, or use fidget gadgets. Once the meeting is complete, children can return to the playroom where they'll be supervised by PCAC staff or volunteers (while you're meeting with the investigative team). He/She can even choose a stuffed animal or blanket to take home.
*Forensic Medical Exams (FMEs) are available to every child whether recommended by the investigative team or not. PCAC partners with SafePath Children's Advocacy Center for FMEs as well as Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Both centers have specially trained nurse examiners who will contact you for scheduling your child's FME and to answer any questions you have about the exam.
Before you leave PCAC, you'll be provided a booklet with information about the people you met with (names and contact #s), tips for how to help your child and family move forward in the course of an investigation, commonly contacted community resources, the Georgia Crime Victims' Bill of Rights, and an application for Crime Victims Compensation (CVC) Program.
You are welcome to have in-person assistance completing the application for the CVC Program or you can choose to complete the application on your own from home. You can learn more about the CVC Program and your eligibility by visiting their portal website at crimevictimscomp.ga.gov. To apply online, you'll just need to create a user profile and work through the application process. Through the portal, you can receive updates on your application status, upload requested documents, and submit reimbursement requests.
Sometime after your visit to PCAC (usually 1-2 weeks), an advocate will check in with you to see how things are going. They can answer any questions you have and provide additional resources as needed. You can choose to communicate in person, by phone/text, or email. Just let your advocate know what your preferred method of contact is and they'll be happy to accommodate. We will also follow up monthly (or more frequently, as needed) to see how you and your child/family are doing.
If you have questions about LE or DFCS's investigation(s), your advocate can provide information available to them at the time of your contact, but for details about the investigation(s), you'll need to speak with the LE or DFCS investigator(s).