What we do
Combatting Child Abuse With Justice and Healing
The nonprofit Children’s Advocacy Center of Hidalgo and Starr Counties (CACHSC) is the first stop for children in Hidalgo and Starr counties who have been sexually or physically abused or witnessed a violent crime. We provide a safe and comfortable environment for children while working alongside law enforcement agents, officials, and investigators to coordinate information and develop approaches that are sensitive to the child’s needs.
Our mission is to reduce the trauma faced by child victims by providing six primary services
The Forensic Interview
All of CACHSC’s services are meant to minimize the amount of suffering each victim has to endure as a part of the investigation process, and the forensic interview is an essential part of that. While recounting details of abuse is never painless, our experienced and highly trained staff do what they can to limit that pain.
The interview can also be utilized by the investigative team, law enforcement, Child Protective Services, and the District Attorney’s Office, limiting the number of times the child will have to retell their experience.
The SANE Exam
Another key mission at CACHSC is the pursuit of justice. In order to see sexual abusers brought to justice, evidence of the abuse will need to be gathered. The SANE exam is a virtually painless evaluation carried out by a specially trained pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).
The purpose of the exam is to gather physical proof that the abuse occurred and to diagnose any health problems stemming from the abuse, evaluate the mental stability of the child, and reassure the victim that there’s nothing wrong with them.
Joint Investigation Coordination
In the past, the process of investigating and combatting cases of child abuse was both disorganized and inefficient, leading to worse outcomes for victims. Thankfully, modern-day investigators and officials have developed better methods for investigating abuse, specifically joint investigation coordination carried out by the CACHSC and other advocacy centers. We coordinate information between investigators, officials, and officers to bring abusers to justice and assist victims.
Multi-Disciplinary Case Review
Similar to joint investigation coordination, the multi-disciplinary case review is a modern-day method to combat child abuse that has vastly improved our response to these crimes.
The multi-disciplinary case review brings together officials, law enforcement, and other investigators to review the details and concerns of the case. Together, the team will decide the best course of action to take to address the situation.
Hope and Healing
CACHSC is dedicated to providing hope and healing to victims of abuse through our counseling services. We provide a variety of treatments, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), and more. We encourage children to rebuild their self-esteem, regain trust, and break through feelings of isolation.
The trauma caused by child abuse often extends far beyond the victim themselves and can affect close family members. Non-offending family members may be feeling a range of negative emotions, from shock and denial to guilt and fear. Our Family Advocacy Program works with families to provide the education and support families need to start recovering from this sort of trauma.