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Spring is in full swing, and with it comes a new season of hope and renewal. As we look forward to brighter days ahead, we're excited to share with you some of the incredible work that happened at Children's Advocacy Centers of Illinois (CACI) and around the state this April.

At CACI, every team member plays an important role in our success.

That's why we want to share our organizational chart with you, so you can see how all of our positions fit together to best serve the Illinois Children Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs).

welcome-back-kotter-dance image

Look who's back!!!!

Kenny was recently featured in a CACI TikTok

Watch it here!

The CACI team has a lunch and learn provided once a month, where we invite another organization in to learn more about them and to share about CACI. We do this for potential partnering, networking, professional development, and to help widen our missions reach.

Last month, we were joined by Susan Frankel, Chief Executive Officer at the National Runaway Safeline. For 50 years, the National Runaway Safeline has been responding to youth and families in crisis, serving as the national communications system for runaway and homeless youth. 

We encourage you to check out their website and social media pages for important data, statistics and resources. You can also listen to their podcast here.

The Child 1st Center's Black Tie Bar-B-Q was held at the Decatur Club on Saturday, April 1st. Dancing the night away while enjoying gourmet barbeque, signature drinks & favorite backyard games while raising money!

All proceeds benefited the Child 1st Center (C1C), an essential Macon/Piatt County organization supporting our local children and their families after becoming victims or witness to sexual abuse or violent crimes.

April 19, 2023 - Children's Advocacy Centers of Illinois hosted their Annual Legislative Day at the Illinois State Capitol. This is an important event where lawmakers and advocates come together to support and protect the rights of children who have been victims of abuse and neglect.

The CACI team, alongside the Will County Children's Advocacy Center, McLean County Children's Advocacy Center, Children's Advocacy Center of East Central Illinois, Sangamon County Child Advocacy Center, Advocacy Network for Children, Vermilion County Child Advocacy Center, April House Children's Advocacy Center, Unified Child Advocacy Network, Kane County State's Attorney's Office, Braveheart Children's Advocacy Center, and the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center to raise awareness about the crucial role that Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) play in ensuring that these vulnerable children receive the care and services they need.

We want to thank the Illinois Senators/Representatives, and staff, for their time today and for showing their support for the well-being of ALL children in the state of Illinois! We were thrilled to have had moments with State Rep Sue Scherer, State Representative Sharon Chung, State Rep. Terra Costa Howard, Senator Julie Morrison, and Steph Miller, Operations Manager for the State of Illinois House of Representatives.

When we tell you that the CACI Legislative Day was AMAZING, you will see that we aren't kidding around 😀. Check out the pictures below and/or this 60 second video that wraps up our 4+ hours spent at the Illinois State Capitol meeting with lawmakers to advocate for policies that protect and support children who have experienced abuse or neglect. 

DuPage County Children's Advocacy Center

Hosts Open House; Bob Berlin Salutes Center's

Work On Behalf Of Juvenile Victims, Families

On April 18, 2023, the DuPage County Children's Advocacy Center hosted an open house for the benefit of social services and law enforcement agencies throughout the County.

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Keeping It Real: Simulation Training in Child Welfare

Simulation training recreates real-life conditions to prepare child welfare workers and students for interactions with families and critical partners in child welfare work. Explore the videos on this site for firsthand accounts of simulation experiences, its benefits, and key considerations based on lessons learned.

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April 27, 2023 - Mike Burns, CACI Statewide MDT Coordinator, attended the Child Abuse Awareness Conference hosted by the Vermilion County Child Advocacy Center and the Survivor Resource Center. The conference was aimed at raising awareness about child abuse and engaging the community with survivors and the Justice panel.

The conference brought together professionals and community members alike to share insights and perspectives on this important issue. It provides an opportunity to learn from experts in the field, including law enforcement officials, child protection services, mental health professionals, and survivors of abuse themselves.

We would like to extend our thanks to the organizers of this conference, and to all those who attended and participated. We were proud to be a part of this important event and look forward to continuing our work to prevent child abuse and support survivors in Illinois.

Lurie Children's Hospital Launches App to Help Screen Bruises in Young Children for Potential Abuse

Lurie Children's launched an innovative new app which aims to increase earlier recognition of abuse in babies and children under 4 years of age who have bruises, with the hope of decreasing the incidence of severe injury and death from child abuse in this age group.

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29th Annual Downstate Conference


September 20-21, 2023 at Sheraton Four Points in Fairview Heights.

Contact Carrie at 

(618) 296-5366 or

via email: crcohan@co.madison.il.us

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Kenny Matthews

Director of Finance: Part 2

I am so excited to be back at CACI and can't wait to see what the next few months brings us! As I used to, I will be making my monthly reading recommendation (along with a few other recommendations!):

Book: Stop Doing That S**T by Gary John Bishop (Or any of his other, more inappropriately titled, books. Note to reader: only undertake if you are ready to get real with yourself.)

Podcast: Freakonomics Radio (it's economics, but fun!)

TV Show: The Big Door Prize on Apple+ (You should already have Apple+ because, you know, Ted Lasso.)

Cara Vock

Director of Programs and Member Services

CACI is in search of a Family Advocate who would like to gain experience in mentoring advocates who are in need of additional support. Advocates may be the sole provider at their center, may be new to Children's Advocacy Centers and MDT's, or may just need peer support to provide anecdotal support around advocacy challenges. Other areas of support could include extra support navigating providing essential components of advocacy as outlined in the NCA Accreditation Standards, knowledge of research, feedback on skills, and who are wanting a growth in confidence.

Submit your interest here

The Children's Advocacy Center of East Central Illinois, through generous funding from the Illinois Attorney General Violent Crimes Victims Assistance Funding, is excited to invite you to participate in a featuring training from the Modell Consulting Group, LLC. There is no cost to participants for the training!

The FIND Two-Day training is designed for members of multidisciplinary teams (MDT’s) who investigate and support victims of abuse and neglect. If you work in law enforcement, child or adult protective services, are a prosecutor, forensic interviewer, clinician, or other social service personnel member this training is for you.

The training is founded on forensic interviewing best practices with considerations and adaptations to account for individual disability, mental health disorders, language capacity, and cultural background.

Mike Burns

Statewide MDT Coordinator

Earlier I notified Directors about the MDT Simulation Training being put on by the Alliance for Experiential Problem-Based Learning at UIS. Some teams reached out and said that it was hard to get a commitment for the whole 3 days from the team so the training has been shortened by 1 day. Two Teams have been selected for the June dates but the other training dates are open. Click here for the revised application. If you are interested in the July or August training dates, please complete and send to me.

The Alliance for Experiential Problem-Based Learning at the University of Illinois Springfield was awarded a federal grant from the Administration for Children and Families as part of our ongoing commitment to building MDT expertise and well-being. In partnership with CACI, a training scenario has been developed to replicate a realistic, investigative experience. This trauma-informed simulation will present team members with a serious physical injury case.  Using their individual skills and expertise, team members will collaborate to work through the beginning steps of the information gathering process with the victim’s family, focusing on improving team communication. Participants will use Problem-Based Learning, a critical thinking framework, to gather facts, develop hypotheses, determine actionable next steps, and address existing learning issues.

Tuesday, June 20th-Wednesday, June 21st

Tuesday, July 18th-Wednesday, July 19th

Tuesday, August 22nd-Wednesday, August 23rd

Regster Here

Ya'Shika Reed

Training and Prevention Specialist

CACI hosted Pt. 1 of the Racial Trauma Series with Dr. Chante' DeLoach. The Racial Trauma series provided an overview of and introduction to racial trauma and race-based stress for racialized communities. Racialized people experience ongoing racism as well as systemic inequities based upon race and other identity-based forms of prejudice and discrimination. These inequities extend to the systems relegated to protect and care for children who have experienced abuse. Using an intersectional approach, participants will learn how racism and the subsequent racial trauma impacts overall mental health and wellbeing for racialized children and their families. The covert ways racism can manifest within individual care workers and are reflected in system-wide policies and practices that may perpetuate further racial trauma and harm will be discussed. 

We appreciate Dr. DeLoach for creating a safe space to welcome and approach this sensitive but important conversation that is much needed in our CAC world. The conversation will continue at the Racial Trauma Follow Up event on May 2nd 2-3:30, registration is open in coalition manager. Thank you to everyone that attended.

Congratulations to the 2023 Spring class of ChildFirst participants 🥳 CACI wants to give a heartfelt thank you to the faculty, their CACs, and their families for allowing this impactful week to happen! 

Kathy L Murphy

VOCA Fiscal Grant Monitor

Upcoming Due Dates

VOCA April Fiscal Expense PFR due Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Michael Morgan

VOCA Program Grant Monitor

Fiscal Year 2024 VOCA Application will be due on May 18th, 2023. Please look over the application with in the 1st week of it being open so that you can ask any questions you may have prior to the final days.

Hanane Bousfoul

Data and Communications Specialist

Save the Dates:

Upcoming Collaborate Report Training Sessions

Session 1: Tuesday, May 9th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Session 2: Monday, May 15th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Session 3: Monday, June 12th, 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Registration links for these trainings will be distributed to all

CACs soon.

Please note that these sessions will be recorded and made accessible on Coalition Manager.

Kane County creates new unit to investigate child exploitation crimes

CBS Chicago CHICAGO (CBS) -- In Kane County, prosecutors and law enforcement announced a new initiative to keep Illinois children safe from sexual exploitation. The Kane County State's Attorney and Kane County Sheriff have launched a new Child Exploitation Unit to fight crimes like child pornography and sextortion.

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Wake Up Tri-Counties The Braveheart Superhero 5K This Saturday, April 29th

Braveheart Children's Advocacy Center will host the Superhero 5K on Saturday, April 29th, 2023. The cost to participate, for adults, is $25.00 and proceeds go to support the efforts of Braveheart to advocate on behalf children. On Wednesday, Taylor Hager and Rosa Rushing with Braveheart joined Wake Up Tri-Counties to invite everyone to participate and support Braveheart.

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At CACI, we believe children begin to heal the moment they are heard.

In Illinois, when there is an allegation of child sexual abuse or severe physical abuse, children are referred to a local CAC. There, an interview is conducted in a child-friendly environment by a trained professional who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not re-traumatize the child. Members of the multidisciplinary team (medical and mental professionals, law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services and more) observe. Following the interview, the child, as well as family members, receive advocacy, medical and mental health referrals to help with the healing process.

Find your local Children's Advocacy Center

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

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Suspected Suicide Attempts by Self-Poisoning Among Persons...

What is already known about this topic? In 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10-14 years and the third leading cause among those aged 15-24 years. What is added by this report?

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Call the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE

(800-252-2873) if you suspect that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect. If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first.

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