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.