Firefly House and The Oak House are Child Advocacy Centers. "A Children's Advocacy Center is a safe place for the evaluation of alleged child sexual abuse. Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) enhance the response to suspected child abuse cases by combining the wisdom and professional knowledge of various investigative agencies and other professionals. These coordinated efforts can provide the knowledge, skills, and resources to assist suspected child abuse victims and their families...." (The Chronicle-November 2007-Children Advocacy Centers of Georgia)
The Mission of the CACs are to coordinate a timely, comprehensive and multidisciplinary response to victims of child abuse in a safe and child friendly setting. Our CACs are committed to the reduction of secondary trauma to child victims of abuse during the investigative and prosecutorial process, working in collaboration with the professionals in law enforcement, social services, the District Attorney, school system and the mental health and medical community, advocating for a child's right to be heard and the journey from victim to survivor that begins with the initial outcry and is followed through healing and empowerment of child and family.
The CACs conduct all of the Forensic Interviews for a 6 county, two judicial circuit area of southwest Georgia, which includes Decatur, Grady, Mitchell, Baker, Calhoun and Dougherty County. A forensic interview is a semi-structured interview conducted with children that have made allegations of being physically or sexually abused, severely neglected or witnesses of violent crimes including but not limited to sexual assault and homicide. These interviews are completed by professionally trained forensic interviewers and coordinated with the involved investigative agencies. This reduces the trauma to the child by avoiding multiple interviews and preserving statements for legal purposes.
The Oak House CAC also provides case tracking for the South Georgia Judicial Circuit that follows that child from the time of the report until the investigative team closes the case and/or after the alleged perpetrator has been prosecuted in court. The DVD that is created at the time of the interview becomes law enforcement’s evidence as well as the drawings completed by the child and forensic interviewer during the forensic interview. Often the forensic interviewer can testify in the place of the child to prevent further trauma/re-victimization caused by fear of facing their attacker. The testimony provided in court is at no charge to the victim or to the state in the judicial circuits in the CAC’s catchment area. Former Albany District Attorney Ken Hodges reported that when forensic interviews were completed with children during law enforcement investigations, his prosecution rate went from 76% to 97% of cases being successfully prosecuted.
Amy Eakin, CAC Director
Contributions to the Oak House CAC
can be sent to:
P.O. Box 70938
Albany, GA 31708