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So far ChildrenAdvocacyCenter has created 12 blog entries.

It’s Not Just Strangers…

2020-05-01T17:00:53-05:00May 1st, 2020|Categories: Child Abuse|

It’s not just strangers….

By Deidra Morgan; Family Advocate, Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center

As children we are always taught “stranger danger”. If you see a guy with a mustache in a white van, be careful kids. If a stranger tries to talk to you, RUN. Everything stated here is wonderful information, and should not be taken lightly, however, 90 percent of abusers are someone that the family knows, trusts, and is around often. A few things to teach your children at a young age.

  • It is okay to say “No” to an adult respectively. If you don’t want to give Uncle Harry or Aunt Lucy a hug, just say so nicely. If you force your child to give hugs when they don’t want to, you are teaching them that they can’t say no to an adult
  • Teach them proper names for their body parts. Ex: penis, vagina, breasts, and butt
  • As soon as they start wearing a bathing suit, start teaching them NO ONE should touch them where their bathing suit covers, unless they are hurt/injured and need medical attention
  • Inform your child that first responders, teachers, medical professionals, and counselors are supposed to be safe adults to talk to. For example: Do not tell your child, “I am going to call the cops because you’re being bad.” This could teach your child to be afraid of cops.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center at 817-558-1599!

How do I do my job?

2018-04-11T22:27:05-05:00February 26th, 2018|Categories: Children's Therapy|

By Mia Hudson; Clinical Director, Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center

Many people ask “How do I do my job?” This question always stuns me on how to explain why or how I do my job in a manner that is quick, easy, and a socially acceptable response. For those who do not know what my job is, well I am a therapist for children who have been sexually abused, physically abused, witnessed abuse, and/or neglected. My co-worker likes to call this “a buzz kill” when meeting new people in socially gatherings, where everyone asks “So, what do you do?”. Often after telling someone what my employment is (if I give the whole truth), the response is “Oh how sad”, “Doesn’t that make you feel depressed all the time?”, and (you guessed it) “How do you do it?”.

Sometimes my response is well the kids are still kids. Majority of the children I work with are so resilient to what has happened. Meaning, the children are about to bounce back from problems, which allows them to still be filled with joy, love, giggly, and playful. This does not mean that a child does not need therapy just because majority of their day is consistent of normal, childlike behaviors; because a child may still be haunted by their memories, have problematic behaviors, fearful, hurt, etc. Therefore, when working with children in therapy who are still so loving and joyful (which all are, even the ones that have difficult behaviors) provides a sense of hope. Hope that the child can overcome what life has thrown at them, something a child should never had to experience or endure. A hope that their abuse will just be a memory and does not define of who they are or who they will be come. This sense of hope is the reason why I choose this career path in the first place. Children from all backgrounds sometimes need a little help due to any type of experience. That little help can change the course of their life because children are so capable for change due to their resiliency, adaptability, love, and ability to learn. And, I want to be that help for them.

Other times, my response is “well someone has to”. If not me, who else is going to do. I feel as though how can I not do this job. Who else is going to help these children heal, show them there is a hope for a better future, advocate for them, and ultimately show them the love of Christ. The love of Christ is creating a therapeutic environment that is non-judgmental, encouragement (not enablement), providing the opportunity for them to learn how to solve their own problems, to feel safe, actually allowing them to have the freedom to speak or to not speak, having someone to listen to them, and having fun while doing it. This is not to present my job as easy by all means. My purpose to bless others of what God has blessed me throughout my life as a child and as an adult.

This is not to say that I am the only one in the world who are helping others and/or to boast who I am or to imply that my job has more meaning than yours. In fact, it is way more than just me. It is also the lovely board members who work constantly for fundraising, volunteering, administrating, and the long hours put in on planning. It is my co-workers who, as we work as team, each having a different role and without one of us we would all fall apart as an agency and we would not benefit anyone. It is the multidisciplinary team with CPS, law enforcement, District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile services, and medical care team. Without each of these departments working together, we would not be able to intervene to develop a safe living environment and seek justice for our families. It is to those who constantly donate their time and money to enable us to provide our families food, clothing, furniture, toys, hygiene products, and our services all for free. It is the protective parents who bring their child to the center for help and healing. On a larger scale, it is the educators who train each department to equip us to do our job. It is the policy makers who create the laws to protect children. It is the construction workers creating the space we work in. It is to the people who build/ sale cars, which allows us and others to get to our place of employment. It is the gas stations, grocery stores, clothing stores, etc. that provide us and our families the essential needs. For me, it is my church, who disciple me and educate me in the word of God and the love of Christ. It is all for the Glory of God. He provides me the strength, encouragement, wisdom, patience, love, passion, and rest to complete each day and start over the next day. It is His will and doing that I am where I am today and how I can do my job. It is His will and doing for what you do! Whether it may not feel as involved or impacting, it completely is no matter where you are employed because without you and what you do, somehow, somewhere in the system it would be missing and incomplete thus, impacting another function in the system. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “The eye

[of the body of Christ] can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you”. The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you”. Meaning, I cannot say I do not need my coworkers, the policy makers, the donors, or the families to fulfill the job description. Each one of us are part of the body of Christ. Each of us are unique and have a purpose.

  However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ- Ephesians 4:7

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. Romans 12:4-6

Therefore, it isn’t how do I do my job. It is how we each do our jobs that leads to everlasting positive impact on children lives. I thank you all for what you do because it helps the children who deserve a childhood and better future. Without you, it wouldn’t be possible.





Circle of Protection

2018-04-11T22:27:13-05:00September 21st, 2017|Categories: Multidisciplinary Team|

Circle of Protection

“Justice – Hope – Healing”


Child abuse investigations are handled by both law enforcement and Child Protective Services professionals. Two separate but essential questions must be answered by these two concurrent investigations. As they conduct their investigation, law enforcement officers must determine if a crime has been committed. If so, a criminal case can be filed with the district attorney’s office so that the offender can be held accountable. CPS investigators must determine if there are any threats to the safety of all children in the home of a reported family. If the home is not a safe place or if the family is not protective, CPS may work with the family to help make the home safe or may remove the children from the home.

Child abuse investigations are inherently complex. Co-housing child abuse professionals and facilitating communication between disciplines is an essential element of the Children’s Advocacy Center model. Professionals work together to ensure no child victim slips through the cracks and that essential services are provided in a timely and efficient manner. Cases are evaluated at intervals to determine if additional CAC services are needed. The key word here is teamwork.

Children’s Advocacy Center of Johnson County

Mission: To provide each child who has suffered abuse with justice, hope and healing.

The Children’s Advocacy Center provides services to child victims of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, and child witnesses to homicides and other violent crimes. Services may also be provided for children at risk and non-offending family members.

These services include forensic interviews, family advocacy, medical evaluation and treatment, and therapeutic intervention for child abuse victims referred to our agency. Services provided are available to the child for as long as needed and at no cost to the family.

The Children’s Advocacy Center serving Johnson County has been serving child victims since February of 1998. The center provides a multi-disciplinary team approach for those child victims that have suffered sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, witnessed a homicide or violent crime or have been found in dangerous drug environments. We provide services for these children at a location that has been designed specifically to meet their needs. The center is bright and warm and has amazing therapy dogs and a K-9 Advocate that greets children at the door.

The multi-disciplinary team or MDT that is in place to assist these children is made up of the center’s staff which includes the executive director, program director, two therapists, direct service coordinator, victim’s services/community outreach coordinator and our intake coordinator/administrative assistant. Our partnering agency members are made up members from all Johnson County law enforcement agencies, prosecutors from both the District and County Attorney’s Offices, juvenile services, Child Protective Services and medical professionals from Cook Children’s.

This MDT approach to these very difficult cases allows us work the case from start to finish without fear of the case falling through the cracks of the criminal justice system. All cases that come through the center are referred by law enforcement or Child Protective Services. When a case is referred the child involved is provided a professional forensic interview and a team approach to their investigation that allows team members to make immediate decisions on safety plans, search warrants, arrest warrants, medical referrals, and resource referrals.

Families referred have immediate access to services at the center that include forensic interviews, crisis intervention, individual, family and group counseling, work with our K-9 Child Advocate and amazing Therapy Dogs, personal advocacy and support, assistance with resource referrals that might include finding emergency shelter, help with groceries, utility bills, medical assistance, finding a job, court school and court accompaniment and overall helping to keep the family supported through this very difficult process.

Since this team approach has been put into place the effective prosecution rate of these cases has increased by 70%. Most importantly, child victims are realizing that they do have hope for a much brighter tomorrow.

Contact: 910 North Granbury Street, Cleburne, Texas 76033, Phone: (817) 558-1599

Email: contactus@cacjctx.org

Website: www.cacjctx.org

Johnson County Sherriff’s Office

Mission: It is the mission of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to be responsive to the calls for services from the citizens of Johnson County, regardless of the nature of the call or the standing of the caller. It is also the mission of this office to be fiscally responsible. It is our duty to keep the community abreast of matters that affect their safety, cooperating with the media, continuing the education of all personnel, and implement modern technology with the cooperation of local, state and federal agencies in matters of mutual interest.

Contact: 1102 E. Kilpatrick, Cleburne, Texas 76031, Phone: (817) 556-6058

Website: www.johnsoncountytx.org/public-safety/sheriff-s-office

Alvarado Police Department:

Mission: It is the mission of the Alvarado Police Department, in serving the people of Alvarado, to strive to reduce crime and provide a safe city by:

  • Recognizing that its goal is to help people and provide assistance at every opportunity;
  • Providing preventative, investigative and enforcement services;
  • Increasing citizen satisfaction with public safety and obtaining community cooperation through the departments training, skill, and efforts; and
  • Realizing that the Police Department alone cannot control crime, but must act in concert with the community and the rest of the Criminal Justice System.

Contact: 600 S. Parkway, Alvarado, Texas 76009, Phone: (817) 790-0910

Website: www.cityofalvarado.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={A760B9D6-5948-4161-A475-13574DBA79FA}

Burleson Police Department:

Mission: We are committed to protect the lives, property and rights of all. We will enforce all laws impartially while maintaining the highest degree of ethical behavior and professional conduct. We will strive to continue to build our partnership with the community that has empowered us to serve.

Contact: 1161 SW Wilshire Blvd, Burleson, Texas 76028, Phone: (817) 295-7146

Web Page: www.burlesontx.com/76/Police-Department

Cleburne Police Department:

Mission: We, the members of the Cleburne Police Department, with the support of the citizens of this community, will strive to improve the quality of life by enforcing all laws without prejudice or bias, with respect for the rights of all people, to assure a safe and secure community for all. We will provide professional police services by focusing on the Six Core Values of Law Enforcement. These core values are Integrity, Truth, Respect, Honesty, Courage, and Compassion. Together, we can make a difference.

Contact: 302 W Henderson, Cleburne, Texas 76033-5448, Phone: (817) 645-0972

Website: www.cleburne.net/813/Police

Godly Police Department:

Mission: As a member of the GODLEY POLICE Department, I commit to provide and maintain the highest quality service, provide a safe and secure environment, and strive for excellence in my profession.  My partnership with the community will be based on respect, pride, honor, courage and dignity. My ethical standards will not be compromised.

Contact: 200 W Railroad Ave, Godley, Texas 76044, Phone: (817) 389-2500

Webpage: www.godleytx.gov/index.asp?SEC=22BA5FF8-1C98-4733-956B-46B1360BB5BA&Type=B_BASIC

Grandview Police Department:

Mission: The Grandview Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality police services by empowering our members and the community to work in partnership with the goal of improving the quality of life within the City of Grandview, while at the same time maintaining respect for individual rights and human dignity.

Contact: 306 E. Criner, P.O. Box 506, Grandview, Texas 76050, Non-Emergency Dispatch: (817) 556-6060 (24 hours), Office: (817) 866-3399

Webpage: www.cityofgrandview.org/179/Police

Joshua Police Department:

Mission: The mission of the Joshua Police Department is to provide exceptional police service that elevates community safety, reduces the threat of crime, and promotes justice and opportunity.

Contact: 101 S Main St, Joshua, Texas, Phone: (817) 558-7447

Website: www.cityofjoshuatx.us/police-department

Keene Police Department:

Mission: The members of the Keene Police Department are dedicated to protect the lives and property of the people we serve, to reduce the occurrence and fear of crime, and to enhance public safety while working with the community to improve the quality of life. We will do so with honor and integrity, while at all times conducting ourselves with the highest of ethical standard to maintain public confidence.

Contact: 100 N Mockingbird Ln, Keene, Texas 76059, Phone: (817) 641-7831

Webpage: www.keenepd.org

Mansfield Police Department:

Mission: to provide the highest level of service, in partnership with the community, to foster a safe atmosphere promoting the highest quality of life for all people.

Contact: 405 Industrial Blvd, Mansfield, Texas 76063, Phone: (817) 473-1943

Website: www.mansfieldtexas.gov/police-department

Rio Vista Police Department:

Mission: Enhance the quality of life for the Citizens of Rio Vista.

Contact Info: 303 TX-174, Rio Vista, Texas 76093, Phone: (817) 373-2600

Website: www.facebook.com/Riovistapolicedepartment

Venus Police Department:

Mission: “To enhance the quality of life in our City by working in partnership with the community to provide exceptional police services that contribute to a safe environment.”

Contact: 103 W 3rd St, Venus, Texas 76084, Phone: (972) 366-3332

Web Page: www.cityofvenus.org/departments/police

District and County Prosecutors of Johnson County

Mission: Bring Justice to children of Johnson County.

Dale Hanna: District Attorney

“The main duty of both the county attorney and the district attorney is to represent the state in criminal cases. Both work with law enforcement officers in the investigation and preparation of cases to be heard before the criminal courts.

Typically, the county attorney represents the state in misdemeanor criminal cases and the district attorney represents the state in felony cases. These public prosecutors determine whether prosecution in any given case should be instituted and, if instituted, pushed to a successful conclusion.”

 Bill Moore: County Attorney

“Welcome! As of January 1, 1993, I have had the privilege of serving as the County Attorney of Johnson County. The County Attorney is responsible for prosecuting adults charged with misdemeanor criminal offenses such as family violence assault, driving while intoxicated and theft; prosecuting juveniles charged with misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses; representing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (also known as Child Protective Services) in child welfare cases protecting the rights of abused and neglected children; representing victims of family violence who seek a protective order as provided by the Texas Family Code; representing applicants who apply through Johnson County Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR) for mental health treatment at a hospital; and advising the Commissioners Court and other elected officials and department heads on legal matters.”

Contact: Guinn Justice Center, S. Buffalo Ave, Cleburne, Texas 76033

District Attorney: Honorable Dale Hanna, Phone: (817) 556-6802

County Attorney: Honorable Bill Moore, Phone: (817) 556-633-0204

Website: www.johnsoncountytx.org/government

Family Protective Services

Mission: The mission of The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is to protect children, the elderly, and people with disabilities from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by involving clients, families, and communities. Family Protective Services Investigate reports of abuse and neglect of children, provide services to children and families in their own homes, place children in foster care, provide services to help youth in foster care successfully transition to adulthood, and work in helping children get adopted.

Child Protective Services caseworkers investigate reports of child abuse or neglect to determine if any child in the family has been abused or neglected. Caseworkers decide if there are any threats to the safety of all children in the home. If so, they determine whether the parents are willing and able to adequately manage those threats to keep children safe. If CPS decides that children aren’t safe, the caseworker starts protective services.

In a CPS investigation, a caseworker may interview family members and others with knowledge to get enough information to make safety decisions. At the end of the investigation, CPS makes a ruling on each allegation. “Be a voice for the voiceless.”

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) protects children and adults who are elderly or have disabilities and regulates child care.

Contact: 1406 Security Dr. Cleburne, Texas 76033, Phone: (817) 760-5000

Website: www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Protection

Juvenile Justice Department

Mission: Transforming young lives and creating safer communities.

“Often, people think of the juvenile system as a penal system similar to that of adults, but for children. While there are similarities between the two, there are also differences. The adult system focuses on public safety and punishment for criminal conduct. While public safety and holding juveniles accountable for their actions are certainly considerations, the juvenile correctional system places an emphasis on rehabilitation. Even when it is necessary to incarcerate youth, the setting is not punitive but rather is protective and designed to educate youth about discipline, values, and work ethics thus guiding them toward becoming productive citizens.

In most cases, juvenile records are sealed so that youth are given a second chance at life without the stigma of having been in trouble with the law. Some exceptions include youth who have to register as sex offenders and youth who have committed serious enough offenses that require them to complete their sentences in the adult system.”

The Juvenile Services of Johnson County is responsible for 10-17 year old minors who have committed “Delinquent conduct” or “Conduct in need of supervision”, these responsibilities include covering truancy, Alternative Education Programs in public education, Juvenile Court Cases and the care of Juvenile Crime victims.

Contact: 1102 E. Kilpatrick, Suite C, Cleburne, Texas 76031, Phone: (817) 556-6880

Website: www.johnsoncountytx.org/departments/juvenile-services

Cook Children’s C.A.R.E Team

Mission: The Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment is working to make North Texas one of the safest places to raise a child.

The team provides medical evaluations for:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Other forms of child maltreatment
  • Neglect
  • Drug exposure
  • Medical child abuse

This C.A.R.E team examines children for proof of maltreatment that could be later used by our county or district attorney to bring a case to court. They also care for any injuries they find, and try to make the child feel as comfortable as possible.

Contact: 801 7th Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76104, Care Team Phone: (682) 885-3953

Website: www.cookchildrens.org/patients/healthcare-team/Pages/care-team.aspx









What Even *is* a Child Advocacy Center? As Told by College Intern Rylie Steppick

2018-04-11T22:27:25-05:00August 28th, 2017|Categories: General|

“Oh, I’ve been interning at the Child Advocacy Center!”

I’ve said this sentence so many times recently, you’d think it was a lyric to the song of the summer. The automatic response is just as frequent. A kind, but confused face. Unsure of what to say or ask, the person I’m speaking to usually just nods, eyebrows scrunched together.
The truth is, before walking in the door back in June, I didn’t know what a Child Advocacy Center did, either. In passing I’d seen an event page or a poster for an event that would benefit the center, and as a teacher my mom had had kids that went through the center. Walking in, I expected a drab, government-funded building with old people and really harsh lighting. I walked into this-


As you can see, this is NOT what I had expected. Colors seemed to bounce off the walls. There was laughter! I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. Immediately I was introduced to the office staff, a.k.a. the goofiest people you will ever meet. Along with my human co-workers I also met the therapy dogs that work at the CAC.

What the Child Advocacy Center Does:

The Center has been open since 1998, and has been serving child victims of Johnson County since that time. The center provides a multi-disciplinary team approach for those child victims that have suffered sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, witnessed a homicide or violent crime or have been found in dangerous drug environments. 

This multiple-disciplinary team or MDT approach to these very difficult cases allows us work the case from start to finish without fear of the case falling through the cracks of the criminal justice system. All cases that come through the center are referred by law enforcement or Child Protective Services. When a case is referred the child involved is provided a professional forensic interview and a team approach to their investigation that allows team members to make immediate decisions on safety plans, search warrants, arrest warrants, medical referrals, and resource referrals.

Families referred have immediate access to services at the center that include forensic interviews, crisis intervention, individual, family and group counseling, work with our K-9 Child Advocate and amazing Therapy Dogs, personal advocacy and support, assistance with resource referrals that might include finding emergency shelter, help with groceries, utility bills, medical assistance, finding a job, court school and court accompaniment and overall helping to keep the family supported through this very difficult process.

Our Mission:  Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center provides each child who has suffered abuse with justice, hope and healing.

Personally, I spent the summer learning about child advocacy and contributing to communication efforts. I consulted the staff about social media, community outreach, and overall strategies to make the center more accessible. They graciously allowed me to learn about the advocacy process, and even allowed me to sit in on forensic interviews so I could see how law enforcement and Child Protective Services and the Child Advocacy Center work together and utilize their community. Their “Circle of Protection” includes everything from C.A.R.E. Team at Cook’s Children’s to the District & County Prosecutors Office.
The Children’s Advocacy Center isn’t a place of mourning or sadness. Our hearts break for these children but we don’t lose sight of the fact that these children are here. Here they are safe with us. They’re getting the help they need, and will be able to heal. We stand by the families in crisis, and most importantly, we advocate for them.

Advocate n. (according to Merriam-Webster)

1: one who pleads the cause of another; specifically: one who pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court
2: one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal
3: one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group

To SUPPORT, UPHOLD… BACK, CHAMPION… to favor actively one that meets opposition.

What I took away from these experiences was that I will never be content unless the cause I pour out my mind and resources out for is a meaningful one. For me, that means that I will most likely end up in the non-profit sector. Seeing the way these people love the kids here, each other, and the work that they do, it will be very hard to try to walk into a corporation where the “bottom line” is the top priority.
And now the summer draws to a close. The interns at the center are cleaning out their offices. The last of their clients are coming through, and the staff is once again saying goodbye. The kids’ conversations are starting to lean toward school talk, and I’m preparing to go back to school myself. I’ve learned about work friends, and how to be the “new girl.”

This has really been the first opportunity I’ve had to embrace the fact that I might end up doing similar work for the rest of my life…and it’s not scaring me.

And I think that’s the best thing a summer internship can do for you. Help you fall in love with your life’s work. Luckily for me, the work here is pretty adorable.

MDTeaming Up against Child Abuse

2018-04-11T22:27:35-05:00July 5th, 2017|Categories: Multidisciplinary Team|

Before Children’s Advocacy Centers

If your child made an outcry of abuse, wouldn’t you want the investigation, prosecution and intervention services to be handled in a manner sensitive to the needs of your child? Prior to children’s advocacy centers, a child’s outcry of abuse didn’t necessarily mean the hurt was over.
Due to the complex nature of these cases, our systems require the involvement of many different professionals to investigate, prosecute and intervene.  Historically, information was not routinely shared, efforts were rarely coordinated, and obtaining successful outcomes for these child victims was virtually impossible. The child victim would be forced to tell his/her story over and over again to individual agencies, further traumatizing the child and not allowing the child to get the help needed in order to move forward in their journey of reclaiming their life. 

After Children’s Advocacy Centers

Multi-Disciplinary Teams made up of professionals now meet to ensure no child victim slips through the cracks and that essential services are provided in a timely and efficient manner. Cases are evaluated at intervals to determine if additional CAC services are needed. The key word here is teamwork. An MDT or Multi-Disciplinary Team, is a group of professionals who work together in a coordinated and collaborative manner to ensure an effective response to reports of child abuse and neglect. Members of the team represent the government agencies and private practitioners responsible for investigating crimes against children and protecting and treating children in a particular community. The MDT approach promotes well-coordinated child abuse investigations that benefit from the input and attention of many different parties—especially law enforcement, prosecution, and child protective services—to ensure a successful conclusion to the investigation and to minimize additional trauma to the child victim.

Children’s advocacy centers (CACs) operate on the fundamental belief that the best interests of the child victim should be protected as the case proceeds through the investigation and prosecution stages and beyond. CACs offer a child-friendly environment where child victims can feel safe talking about it, in the event something has happened to them. Additionally, CACs ensure that the information and therapeutic services necessary to the healing process are readily accessible for these children and their protective family members. CACs support and coordinate the efforts of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of professionals consisting of: Law enforcement investigators, Prosecutors, Child Protective Service Workers, Medical Professionals, Mental Health Professionals and Victim Advocates.

The CAC Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) is the cornerstone of the CAC model

MDT Enhancement Program


The MDT Enhancement Program was launched, refocusing Texas CACs on the importance of the multidisciplinary response by strengthening CAC MDTs statewide, promoting better joint investigations of abuse.


The Texas Legislature boosted the effectiveness of the CAC MDT Enhancement Program by funding its statewide expansion. This funding allowed the implementation of programs giving access to all notifications of reported child abuse referred to law enforcement through the Department of Family Protective Services Statewide Intake. CACs can now coordinate joint investigations of child abuse earlier in the process and provide critical services faster.


As a result, the number of children receiving critically important CAC services and whose abuse cases benefited from the MDTs coordinated investigations increased 15%.

Here at the Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center our Statewide Intake Coordinator averages over 200 qualifying reports of abuse each month. This past Quarter, April 2017-June 2017, 599 qualifying reports were received by the Statewide Intake Coordinator. Also, we conducted 131 Forensic Interviews. This dedicated CAC staff position is trained to review all incoming notifications of child abuse and neglect daily to determine which reports fit within the existing case criteria, as outlined in a CAC/MDT’s Working Protocols. The responsibilities of the IC also include:

  • Establishing and maintaining open communication and healthy relationships with all partner agency representatives, CAC Forensic Interviewers, family advocates, and medical/mental health providers.
  • Facilitating dialogue with Children’s Protective Services and Law Enforcement Investigators related to identification of cases in need of forensic interviews, joint investigations, and case review.
  • Coordinating investigations and forensic interviews by reaching out to CPS, and Law Enforcement to schedule interviews and/or add a case for discussion during case staffing’s.
  • Initiating the process for more in-depth review of reports.
  • Coordinating between law enforcement, CPS, and the forensic interviewers at the CAC when scheduling forensic interviews.
  • Making contact with appropriate Children’s Protective Services and Law Enforcement Investigators to facilitate initiation of joint investigation.

The multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach to work these serious felony cases. This team includes the following agencies:

  • Crimes Against Children Detectives
  • Prosecutors
  • Child Protective Service Investigators
  • Forensic Interviewers
  • Medical Staff
  • Therapists
  • Family Advocates
  • Juvenile Services.

The appropriate team members are notified each time a child’s case is referred that fits case criteria. The JCCAC works cases of sexual abuse, severe physical abuse and cases where children have witnessed homicides or other violent crimes.

The teamwork and cooperation of the MDT is a vital part of protecting children. The coordinated joint investigations between CACs and other members of the MDT help in preventing child victims from falling through the cracks; continuing to meet our mission of providing each child who has suffered abuse with justice, hope and healing.

To learn more about the Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center visit www.cacjctx.org.

Also visit www.cactx.org to learn more about CACs in Texas.

Acquaintance Rape: Keeping Your Teen Safe

2018-04-11T22:27:44-05:00May 15th, 2017|Categories: Sexual Assaults|

What is acquaintance rape?

Acquaintance rape is when somebody you know—a boyfriend or girlfriend, a friend, a classmate, or even someone you just met—uses coercion (including drugs or alcohol), violence, or threats to force unwanted oral, vaginal, or anal sex. When this happens in a dating relationship, it is commonly known as date rape.

How common is acquaintance rape?

Unfortunately, acquaintance rape is very common. In some surveys, as many as one in four young women reported being verbally or physically pressured into having sex during the past year. Shockingly, one in 10 high school girls, and one in 20 boys reported being forced into sex at some point in their lives.

Can guys get raped?

Yes. Guys can get raped and it has nothing to do with their sexual orientation, appearance, physical size, or strength. Guys can be raped by family members or other people they trust, as well as by strangers. If a guy gets raped, that does not mean he is gay.

What are date rape drugs?

An acquaintance may slip drugs into your drink to try to make it easier to victimize you. Being drugged without your knowledge makes consent impossible. ANY drug, even alcohol, can put you at risk. Drugs commonly used in acquaintance rape include:

  • Rohypnol (pronounced row-HIP-nal; also, called roofies): A sedative that can make you feel sleepy, slur your speech, make it difficult to walk, make you black-out, and cause amnesia.
  • GHB: A depressant that may cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, heart problems, seizures, black-outs, and, in some cases, coma.
  • Ketamine (pronounced keet-ah-meen; also, called Special K): An animal tranquilizer that can cause delirium, loss of memory, depression, and long-term memory and cognitive difficulties.

What can I do to be safe?

  • Expect respect and keep away from people who don’t show you respect.
  • Be clear about your limits: let the other person know what you want and don’t want to do. You have the right to change your mind, to say “no,” or to agree to some sexual activities and not to others.
  • Don’t allow a person to touch you if it makes you uncomfortable. If your limits are reached or you sense danger, speak your mind and act immediately. Make a scene if necessary.
  • Avoid excessive drinking or drugs. They reduce your ability to think and communicate clearly. Being drunk or high does not give anyone permission to assault you.
  • Pour your own beverage and keep it in sight.
  • Date rape drugs can be put into drinks and are often undetectable.
  • Don’t hang out in places that keep you isolated from others. Although you may feel you can take care of yourself, it is always wise to be careful.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel that a person is not trustworthy or a situation is unsafe, leave.
  • Have a back-up plan. For example, if you’re going out to a party in a different neighborhood, make sure someone you trust knows where you’re going. Have a person you can call to come and get you if you need to leave without your original ride.

Did you know?

  • 75% of sexual assaults are committed by someone that the victim knows.
  • 28% of rape victims are assaulted by their boyfriends and 35% are sexually assaulted by relatives
  • 38% of acquaintance rape victims are 14-17 years old.

Myths & Facts About Acquaintance Rape

  • MYTH: Girls who claim that they were raped are just looking for attention.
  • FACT: No one wants the sort of attention that comes after being raped. Rape is an extremely traumatic experience that is difficult to overcome
  • MYTH: Rape only happens to girls.
  • FACT: Rape can happen to anyone
  • MYTH: If a guy pays for the date, he deserves sex.
  • FACT: Nobody “owes” anybody sex. No one has a right to expect that a date will end in sex.
  • MYTH: Girls who wear short skirts or tight tops are looking for sex.
  • FACT: Rape has nothing to do with physical appearance; it’s about power and control. How a girl dresses is not an invitation for sex
  • MYTH: When a girl says “no” she really means “yes.”
  • FACT: No means no.
  • MYTH: Girls who are raped are asking for it.
  • FACT: Rape is never the victim’s fault. Nobody asks for or deserves to be raped.
  • MYTH: Only strangers and dirty old men in dark alleys commit rapes.
  • FACT: The vast majority of rapes are committed by people who already knew their victims.
  • MYTH: Rape is just about sex.
  • FACT: Rape is about power and control. It’s a crime in which sex is used as a weapon

 For additional information on staying safe, visit. . .


  1. Rickert, V.I., Wiemann, C.M., Vaughan, R.D., & White, J.W. (2004). Rates and risk factors for sexual violence among an ethnically diverse sample of adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 158(12), 1132-1139.
  2. Howard, D.E., & Wang, M.Q. (2005). Psychosocial correlates of U.S. adolescents who report a history of forced sexual intercourse. Journal of Adolescent Health, 36(5), 372-379.
  3. Greenfeld, L.A. (1997). Sex offenses and offenders: An analysis of data on rape and sexual assault. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved January 12, 2009 from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/soo.pdf
  4. Bohmer, C., & Parrot, A. (1993). Sexual assault on campus: The problem and the solution. New York: Lexington Books.
  5. Warshaw, R. (1988). I never called it rape: The Ms. report on recognizing, fighting, and surviving date and acquaintance rape. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.
This project was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS. National Child Traumatic Stress Network Child Sexual Abuse Committee. (2009). Caring for Kids: What Parents Need to Know about Sexual Abuse. Los Angeles, CA & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

Fighting for our Children

2018-04-11T22:27:53-05:00March 10th, 2017|Categories: Child Abuse|

Whether you realize it or not, child sexual abuse affects all of us. 

The Economic Impact:

The impact of child sexual abuse is devastating for survivors, but also affects those close to them, as well as the surrounding community. It is the root cause of many social and health issues and touches all of us in one way or another. According to the National Children’s Advocacy Center, the health and social impacts of child sexual abuse on a survivor last a lifetime and affect us all socially and financially. The average lifetime cost per victim of child abuse is $210,012*, costing the U.S. billions annually. These costs are primarily paid for by the public sector, you, the tax payer.

The economic total lifetime burden from nonfatal and fatal child maltreatment in 2008 cost an unimaginable $124,000,000,000.00.

The costs include:

  • Childhood Healthcare Costs-$32,648.00
  • Adult Medical Costs-$10,530.00
  • Criminal Justice Costs-$6,747.00
  • Child Welfare Costs-$7,728.00
  • Special Education Costs-$7,999.00
  • Productivity Losses-$144,360.00

The Social Impact:

There are many social costs as a result of child sexual abuse including:

The cost include:

  • Delinquency and crime, often stemming from substance abuse, are more prevalent in adolescents with a history of child sexual abuse. Adults survivors are also more likely to become involved in crime, both as a perpetrator and as a victim.
  • Academic problems
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Sexual behavior and over-sexualized behavior problems

The Health Impact:

There are many health-related costs to survivors of sexual abuse. Generally, adult victims have higher rates of healthcare utilization and report significantly more health complaints when compared to adults without a history of child sexual abuse. Some health related issues include:

  • Emotional and mental health problems are often the first consequence and sign of child sexual abuse.
  • Substance abuse problems are common, often beginning in childhood or adolescence and lasting into adulthood.
  • Obesity and eating disorders are more common in women who have a history of child sexual abuse. The resulting health issues as a result of obesity includes diabetes and heart disease.

Fang, X., Brown, D., Florence, C., Mercy, J. (2012) The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevent.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 36:2,156-165

Using the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) Model

What Is a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC)?

To understand what a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, cops, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble, or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other adult that could hurt the case against the abuser.

When police or child protective services believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story once to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not re-traumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to help the child based on the interview. CACs offer therapy and medical exams, plus courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CACs.

Why are Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) and Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) So Important?

Coordinated Services-CAC communities demonstrated significantly higher rates of:

  • Coordinated investigations between law enforcement and CPS
  • Team forensic interviews
  • Case reviews
  • Recording of forensic interviews
  • Interviews in child-friendly settings

Prosecution Rates-Use of the CAC approach leads to a dramatic increase in felony prosecutions of child abuse:

  • District with significant CAC usage-196%
  • District with limited CAC usage-1%

Case Processing Time-Faster criminal charging decisions in child sexual abuse cases, within 1-60 days:

  • CAC Community- 80%
  • Comparison Community A- 49%
  • Comparison Community B- 58%

A graphic describing the CAC model. On the left side, titled "Without CACs," a boy and girl icon are surrounded by a confusing array of paths to icons representing victims' services: a cross for medical, a brain for mental health, a badge for law enforcement, a heart for victim advocacy, scales for criminal justice and prosecution, and a child's hand in an adult's hand representing the help of a CAC. Without CACs, children and families are left to seek these services on their own, which can be confusing and ultimately unsuccessful. On the right, titled "With CACs," the same icons are present, but these victims' services icons are aligned with arrows pointing toward the boy and girl, encircled by a ring representing the coordination of the CAC model. This represents the CAC model's promise to coordinate and bring these crucial services directly to children.

For more information visit:

National Children’s Advocacy Center at http://www.nationalcac.org/

National Children’s Alliance: http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas: http://www.cactx.org/

Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center: https://cacjctx.org/




Safe Sleep For Your Baby

2018-04-11T22:28:04-05:00March 2nd, 2017|Categories: Safe Sleep|

Create a Safe Sleep Environment For Your Baby

Create a safe sleeping environment for your baby to reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Other Sleep-Related Causes of Infant Death.

What is SIDS?

SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that doesn’t have a known cause even after a complete investigation. Each year in the United States, thousands of babies die suddenly and unexpectedly. These deaths are called SUID (pronounced SOO-idd), which stands for “Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.”

SUID includes all unexpected deaths: those without a clear cause, such as SIDS, and those from a known cause, such as suffocation. One-half of all SUID cases are SIDS. Many unexpected infant deaths are accidents, but a disease or something done on purpose can also cause a baby to die suddenly and unexpectedly.

Sleep-related causes of infant death are those linked to how or where a baby sleeps or slept. They are due to accidental causes, such as: suffocation; entrapment, when baby gets trapped between two objects, such as a mattress and wall, and can’t breathe; or strangulation, when something presses on or wraps around baby’s neck, blocking baby’s airway. These deaths are not SIDS.

Fast facts about SIDS:

  • SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies 1 month to 1 year of age.
  • Most SIDS deaths happen when babies are between 1 month and 4 months of age.

 What does safe sleep look like?

  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • Room sharing—keeping baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep—reduces the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • To reduce the risk of SIDS, women should:
    • Get regular health care during pregnancy, and
    • Not smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy or after the baby is born.
  • To reduce the risk of SIDS, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.
  • Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Give your baby a dry pacifier that is not attached to a string for naps and at night to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot during sleep.
  • Follow health care provider guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health checkups.
  • Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.
  • Do not use home heart or breathing monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Give your baby plenty of Tummy Time when he or she is awake and when someone is watching.

Remember Tummy Time! 

Place babies on their stomachs when they are awake and when someone is watching. Tummy Time helps your baby’s head, neck, and shoulder muscles get stronger and helps to prevent flat spots on the head.

Answers to common questions about SIDS:

Q: What is the best way to reduce my baby’s risk for SIDS?

A: Placing your baby on his or her back to sleep for every sleep time is the best way to reduce the risk of SIDS.

Q: Will my baby choke if placed on the back to sleep?

A:  No. Healthy babies naturally swallow or cough up fluids—it’s a reflex all people have. Babies might actually clear such fluids better when on their backs.

Q: What if my baby rolls onto the stomach on his or her own during sleep? Do I need to put my baby in the back-sleep position again if this happens?

A: No. Rolling over is an important and natural part of your baby’s growth. Most babies start rolling over on their own around 4 to 6 months of age. If your baby rolls over on his or her own during sleep, you do not need to turn the baby over onto his or her back. The important thing is that the baby start off every sleep time on his or her back to reduce the risk of SIDS, and that there is no soft, loose bedding in the baby’s sleep area.

 Spreading the word:

  • Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows the ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death. Remember: Babies sleep safest on their backs, and every sleep time counts!
  • Help family members, babysitters, daycare workers— EVERYONE—reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS and ensure a safe sleep area for your baby.
  • Share these safe sleep messages with everyone who cares for your baby or for any baby younger than 1 year of age.

 Stay Informed:

  • Contact the Safe to Sleep® campaign:
  • For Crib safety Information contact:
    • Visit www.cpsc.gov
    • Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772

They Don’t Belong in a Dumpster!

2018-04-11T22:28:13-05:00February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Safe Baby Site Project|

Safe Baby Site Project (The Baby Moses Law)

They don’t belong in a dumpster. There is help. Learn more about the Baby Moses Law and how to protect our most vulnerable citizens…our children.  My there never be another “(Angel) Baby Doe” in Johnson County.


 The Baby Moses Project

Many people just can’t imagine that anyone would ever abandon a baby in Johnson County but it happens. Sadly, we have had babies die because they were abandoned and not found in time. The Baby Moses Law provides a means for those who find themselves unable or unprepared to parent, to leave their baby where they will be loved and cared for. The parent will not face prosecution if the baby is delivered safely into the arms of a firefighter, EMT, or hospital personnel. Please help us get the word out that no baby has to die in Johnson County from abuse or abandonment. There are Safe Baby Sites all over the county that are prepared to meet the needs of any newborn child turned over at the site. There are many people that care and are ready to help!

What is the Baby Moses Law?

The Baby Moses Law has been in place since 1999, but there were insufficient funds available to educate the general public about the law. The Baby Moses Law provides a responsible alternative to parents who might otherwise abandon, neglect or harm a newborn child. The law states that a parent may leave an unharmed infant up to sixty days old in the arms of a hospital personnel, firefighters or designated Emergency Medical Service Provider with no questions asked and no penalty to the parent. Texas State Law 262.301 and 262.302.

The Need for This Project

The Baby Moses Law was passed in Texas because of the growing concern about the number of abandoned infants. It is estimated that each month two infants are abandoned in life-threatening situations in Texas and approximately 25% of all abandoned babies do not survive.

Safe Baby Site Locations

In Johnson County, our designated sites are all 24-hour manned fire stations, Care Flite of Johnson County Mobile Units (Ambulances), Huguley Memorial Medical Center and Walls Regional Hospital.

Babies cannot be dropped off at a fire station that is not manned. Volunteer departments are typically not manned 24-hours a day. There may be no one there to find and care for the baby. The goal of this law is to have parents place the child into the arms of someone capable of caring for the child and providing medical attention if needed.

If parents deliver a child into the hands of a person at a designated site there will be no question asked. Parents will be given a very short medical history profile to fill out on the baby for medical reasons only.

Safe Baby Sites in Johnson County

Alvarado Fire Department: 205 S Friou Street, Alvarado, TX. 76009

Burleson Fire Department: 828 SW Alsbury Boulevard, Burleson, TX. 76028, 620 Memorial Plaza, Burleson, TX. 76028

Cleburne Fire Department: 801 E Henderson Street, Cleburne, TX. 76033, 806 S. Nolan River Road, Cleburne, TX. 76033, 901 Kilpatrick, Cleburne, TX. 76033

Texas Health Huguley Hospital: 11801 South FWY, Burleson, TX. 76028

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital: 201 Walls Dr, Cleburne, TX. 76033

Care Flight of Johnson County: Mobile Units (Ambulances)

CACoJC_Safe Baby Site

Look for the Safe Baby Site signs. Please don’t leave a baby in a place where they might not be found or at an entrance where there is not a sign posted.


“Our Mission is to provide each child who has suffered abuse with Justice, Hope and Healing”.

This message is brought to you by the Johnson County Children’s Advocacy

910 N. Granbury Street, Cleburne, TX. 76033




TF-CBT and Coping with Trauma

2018-04-11T22:28:23-05:00February 15th, 2017|Categories: Behavior Therapy|

What is Trauma?

Trauma can be an event that, when witnessed or experienced by a child or adolescent, is extremely distressing to them. Traumatic events often happen when the children feared for their lives or for the lives of others. These events may include:

  • Exposure to violence
  • Loss of a significant loved one
  • Natural disaster
  • House fire
  • Car accident
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse

What Are Some Reactions to Trauma?

Each person can react in different ways to a traumatic event based on many things, such as the age of the person, the severity of the trauma, the amount of time that has passed since the trauma. Some symptoms to look for include:

  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and/or not wanting to sleep alone
  • Difficulty not thinking of the event
  • Increased fear in both safe and risky situations
  • Feeling shame or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty staying still
  • Low self-esteem
  • Mood swings
  • Drop in grades and performance at school
  • Irritability and problems with anger control
  • Efforts to avoid talking about the event or doing things that remind the child about the event

What is TF-CBT and is it used to in coping?

TF-CBT is Trauma-Focused Cogitative Behavior Therapy. It is researched-based therapy shown to help children, teens, and their parents cope with trauma. It is normally provided to children between the ages of – and 18. Talking about the trauma is done in a gradual, supportive way and does not happen until the child has learned some skills to cope with the discomfort. TF-CBT helps families, talk about the trauma, and develop plans for feeling safe in the future. This includes:

  • Education about trauma and its effects
  • Help with parenting strategies for common behavior problems
  • Training in relaxation/stress management
  • Learning about feelings and ways to express them
  • Developing creative ways for children to gradually talk about what happened
  • Engaging in joint sessions to help the child and caregiver(s) talk together about the trauma
  • Learning and practicing safety skills

What is My Role as Caregiver?

Caregivers are the most important people in the child’s life and are involved in every step of treatment.

Studies show that supportive Caregivers are vital in helping their children to heal.

Caregivers are asked to:

  • Participate in most therapy sessions
  • Help their children to practice skills at home
  • Support their children in the sharing and telling of their trauma



References: The National Children’s Advocacy Center

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX)



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