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Children’s Advocacy Center of Centre County

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about the Children's Advocacy Center.

What is the CAC?

The CAC is a safe and comfortable place where children come to talk with a specially trained interviewer about possible event(s) they may have experienced and/or witnessed. The CAC receives referrals from child protective services or law enforcement if there is concern that a child is an alleged victim of abuse or witness of a crime. A visit to the CAC gives the child an opportunity to talk about their experience in a child-friendly, safe, and comfortable setting.

I’m concerned about a child in my community. Who can I turn to?

If you feel that a child in your family or community is the victim of abuse or neglect or a witness to other crimes, that child needs someone to speak up on their behalf. We encourage you to contact ChildLine at 1.800.932.0313 or your local children & youth services department. ChildLine staff are available to answer your call 24/7. Callers can remain anonymous. If you feel the child is in immediate danger, please contact your local police department.

Children and Youth Services

If you or someone you love suspects abuse or neglect of children, contact the Centre County Office of Children & Youth Services at 814.355.6755.

What happens during the medical exam?

After the interview, children referred to the CAC receive a forensic medical exam by a specially trained Mount Nittany Health pediatrician. The exam includes a head-to-toe physical exam and is non-invasive. The caregiver can be present for the exam.

What happens during an appointment?

During a visit to the CAC, the child will talk to a trained child forensic interviewer. The interview is for fact-finding purposes only and is not a counseling session or psychological evaluation. The child is interviewed using child-focused, developmentally sensitive, trauma informed, and asking legally sound questions.

The interview is observed by a team of professionals, which can be composed of an investigating officer, a child protective services caseworker and a representative from the prosecutor’s office. This approach ensures that a child will not be interviewed repeatedly during the investigation.

During the child’s interview, the caregiver may meet with a victim advocate in a private waiting room. A victim advocate is trained to support victims of crime. This provides the opportunity for the caregiver to talk with the advocate about concerns, questions or next steps in the process that may not be appropriate to discuss in front of the child.

How can I help the CAC?

All services are offered to victims and their families at no charge. The CAC is dependent on community support and donations to continue to offer this valuable support to children in our community.

Consider a donation to the CAC by contacting Mount Nittany Health Foundation at 814.234.6777 or conveniently donate online.

Please feel free to mail a donation. Make checks payable to Mount Nittany Health Foundation:

Mount Nittany Health Foundation
1800 E. Park Avenue
State College, PA 16803

Please note “Children’s Advocacy Center” in the memo line of the check.