Circle of Protection

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

Circle of Protection

“Justice – Hope – Healing”

www.cacjctx.org

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MDTeaming Up against Child Abuse

2018-04-11T22:27:35+00:00July 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

2014:

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.

2015:

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.

2016:

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.