The Child Abuse Network provides a collaborative and non-duplicated interagency approach to process and investigate child abuse cases. The centralized, team approach is designed from the child’s point of view to help minimize the trauma of child abuse investigation and promote the healing process.
Less Traumatic Investigation
Prior to the Child Abuse Network and the Children’s Advocacy Center (formerly Justice Center), children were taken from Department of Human Services (DHS) offices to police departments then to doctors’ offices in order to gather information on the reported abuse. To the child the investigation meant stressful examinations and repetitive interviews in cold, sterile facilities.
Now, CAN provides one, central location where the professionals come to the children. The centralized approach reduces the number of times children must repeat their story and helps them begin their healing process faster.
Readily Available Medical Evaluations
Through CAN’s centralized approach, an on-site medical evaluation by a child abuse medical expert is available for the first time in the State of Oklahoma as a standard component of child abuse investigations.
Law enforcement and child welfare investigators no longer must search for community providers who are willing to “get involved” or wait in hospital emergency rooms. At the Children’s Advocacy Center, medical experts provide readily available child abuse medical evaluations.
Comprehensive Information Helps Determine Abuse
As a result of CAN’s unique, multidisciplinary team approach, child-abuse investigators have instant access to better, more complete information to determine whether abuse has occurred. Investigators attend regular team meetings to discuss cases with prosecutors, child welfare supervisors, law enforcement personnel, and medical and mental health experts.
More Efficient, Accurate Investigation
In their first year at the Center, the Child Crisis Unit of the Tulsa Police Department experienced a 74% increase in the number of cases cleared by arrest. Confessions are now obtained in approximately 73% of the Unit’s cases.
One, Centralized Facility For Questions and Referrals
Reported child abuse mobilizes multiple agencies and results in an often overwhelming and confusing process for families in crisis. CAN offers one place, one resource for families to direct their questions and concerns. Through the Child Abuse Network’s coordination and administration, the services and agencies at the Center appear to work seamlessly around the child.