• PA Chapter for Children’s Advocacy Centers & Multidisciplinary Teams Presents Minimal Fact Interview Training in Pike County, PA

    Pike County Minimal Facts Interview Training Feb 2016-edit
    (Pictured left to right: Connie Miller, Program Manager, PA Chapter of CACs & MDTs; Melissa Wagner, PA Chapter of CACs & MDTs Mentor and Executive Director, Child Advocacy Center of the Central Susquehanna Valley; Mikele Bay, PA Chapter of CACs & MDTs Mentor and Executive Director, Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County; and Raymond J. Tonkin, District Attorney, Pike County, PA)

    */ ?>
  • CACs Across Pennsylvania Mourn the Loss of Jason Kutulakis, a Passionate and Deeply Committed Child Advocate

    A swell of grief was rising Sunday afternoon as word circulated about the sudden death of well-known Carlisle attorney and children’s advocate Jason Kutulakis.

    Kutulakis, 47, a founder of Abom & Kutulakis, died Sunday morning at his home, apparently from a heart attack, according to a statement issued by his law office.

    …. Read full article here.

    */ ?>
  • Sen. Toomey Bill to Direct More Money For Crime Victims Clears Senate Budget Committee

    Toomey Bill to Direct More Money For Crime Victims Clears Senate Budget Committee

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) bill to end the longstanding injustices surrounding the Crime Victims Fund today was approved by the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. His measure would direct hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funds to victims of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes.

    Sen. Toomey’s Fairness for Crime Victims Act of 2015 ensures that money deposited into the Crime Victims Fund will go to crime victims—not to other discretionary spending or to a budget gimmick to understate the deficit.

    “It is unconscionable that the government withholds billions of dollars from victims of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and other crimes,” said Sen. Toomey.  “Federal law requires that the money from the Crime Victims Fund may be used only to serve victims of crime, not for other spending. Yet unfortunately, the government has withheld billions of dollars from crime victims and used it for other spending projects.

    “To add insult to injury, Congress has also used a budget gimmick to fool the American people into thinking Congress is saving these funds—thus underreporting the size of the federal deficit by billions of dollars.

    “This injustice must end, and today’s action by the Senate Budget Committee is a significant step forward to achieving this goal. I will continue fighting to get this bill enacted to restore fairness for crime victims.”

    You can watch a short video of Sen. Toomey discussing his efforts here.

    The Crime Victims Fund was created in 1984, based on the principle that the money the federal government collects from those are convicted of crimes should be used to help those victimized by crime.

    The Crime Victims Fund receives no taxpayer dollars; it is funded by criminal fines and penalties collected by the federal government.  It is used to compensate victims directly and to support victims’ service groups, such as Child Advocacy Centers, rape crisis centers, and domestic violence shelters. Under federal law, money deposited into the Crime Victims Fund may only be used to assist crime victims.

    Even though the federal law provides that money deposited in the Crime Victims Fund may only be used to assist crime victims, for more than a decade, Congress has withheld billions of dollars from victims of crime and instead used that money to pay for other discretionary spending projects. Through a budget gimmick, Congress represents that this money that it has already spent is still in the Crime Victims Fund and available for victims of crime. For example, from fiscal year 2010 through fiscal year 2014, the Crime Victims Fund collected $12 billion, but only gave $3.6 billion, or 30 percent, to victims of crime.

    In response to pressure from Senator Toomey and others, the fiscal year 2015 omnibus appropriations bill provides $2.3 billion from the Crime Victims Fund – a 200% increase from the previous year.

    Senator Toomey’s Fairness for Crime Victims Act (S. 1495) provides a permanent fix. It ends the injustices surrounding the Crime Victims Fund and ensures that every year, victims of crime will receive the funding they need. The bill provides that, each year, Congress disburse at least the average of the past 3 years’ deposits into the Fund. For fiscal year 2016, this will result in over $2.6 billion being distributed— 3½ times the $745 million provided in fiscal year 2014. Pennsylvania groups serving crime victims will see funding more than quadruple, from $17.6 million in fiscal year 2014 to $80 million in fiscal year 2016.

    Victims advocates in Pennsylvania support Sen. Toomey’s proposal and believe they will be able to help even more victims if enacted.

    “Local and state hotlines answered 744 calls, an average of 31 calls per hour,” said Dr. Peg Dierkers, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  “However, in that same day in Pennsylvania, there were 252 unmet requests for services, which could not be provided because programs did not have the necessary resources.

    “Under the Fairness for Crime Victims Act, Child Advocacy Centers, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and other victim service groups in Pennsylvania will see funds more than quadruple—going from $17 million in fiscal year 2014 to an estimated $70 million in fiscal year 2016,” said Jack Whelan, District Attorney, Delaware County

    Said Diane Moyer, Legal Director, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, “Each year Pennsylvania rape crisis centers provide confidential services, at no charge, to approximately 30,000 men, women and children affected by sexual assault.  The most frustrating thing for someone who has done policy work is that there is money available for these unmet needs.”

    “It will make a dramatic funding difference for Pennsylvania, which will see funds for CACs and other victim service groups more than quadruple—going from $17 million in fiscal year 2014 to an estimated $70 million in fiscal year 2015,” said Abbie Newman, Executive Director & President, Mission Kids, Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County.



    */ ?>
  • National Children’s Alliance Accredits Washington’s “A Child’s Place”

    March 18, 2015

    The entrance to “A Child’s Place” at Washington Hospital, a Children’s Advocacy Center where law enforcement, the Children and Youth Services agency, prosecutors and medical professionals can interview victims of abuse and neglect, became the first Satellite Center in Pennsylvania to be accredited by the National Children’s Alliance of Washington, D.C.

    The local center is a satellite of Mercy Hospital. Interviewing children at a central location means they do not have to be shunted about from office to office.

    Tim Kimmel, Washington County director of human services, learned of the accreditation Tuesday afternoon and reported the development Wednesday morning at the Washington County commissioners’ agenda-setting meeting.
    “It validates the quality of service we want to provide to our abused and neglected children,” Kimmel said. Applying for and obtaining accreditation has been in the works since the center opened in January of last year, and Kimmel acknowledged that meeting the objectives of the review has been a rigorous process.

    “It should open up additional funding opportunities for us,” said Kim Rogers, Washington County CYS administrator.

    The commissioners were pleased to hear of the accolade. “The National Children’s Alliance awards various levels of membership to centers responding to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first,” the organization noted in a release. National Children’s Alliance awards Satellite membership based on a center’s compliance with national standards to ensure effective, efficient and consistent delivery of services to child abuse victims, including an effective multidisciplinary team approach to work together in child abuse investigation, prosecution, and treatment.

    Founded in 1990,  National Children’s Alliance is the association and accrediting body for the 780 Children’s Advocacy Centers and 49 state chapters serving each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The purpose of National Children’s Alliance is to ensure local communities can provide comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.

    The importance of making Children’s Advocacy Centers available to all children in Pennsylvania was part of a report issued by the Task Force on Child Protection, which was formed by the General Assembly following several high-profile child sexual abuse cases that occurred in Pennsylvania, most notoriously the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State University.

    The report recommended a Children’s Advocacy Center be located within a two-hour drive of all children in Pennsylvania. The center was formerly known as “A Voice for Me” Child Advocacy Center of Washington, which closed in spring 2013. During the interim, Washington County cases of suspected child abuse were referred to Children’s Advocacy Centers at Mercy or Children’s Hospital.
    Rogers estimated between five and 20 children from Washington County use the service each month.

    The endeavor was made possible through the joint efforts of the Washington Health System, A Child’s Place at Mercy, the Washington County district attorney’s office, Washington County Children and Youth Services, the Washington County commissioners and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services Care Center, which provides treatment, advocacy and support for both adult and child victims of sexual abuse.

    */ ?>
  • Putting the Needs of Child Victims of Abuse First.

    The Pennsylvania Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers & Multidisciplinary Teams is a membership organization dedicated to helping local Pennsylvania communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first. The Pennsylvania Chapter provides training, support, technical assistance and leadership on a statewide level to local Children’s Advocacy Centers and communities throughout Pennsylvania responding to reports of child abuse and neglect.

    We support the development of the Children’s Advocacy Center model as promoted by the accreditation standards of National Children’s Alliance, our national accrediting body and membership association.

    Our mission is to promote, assist, and support the development, growth, and continuation of the multidisciplinary approach and children’s advocacy centers for the protection of Pennsylvania’s children.

    The PA Chapter of CACs & MDTs provides its membership with the following:

    • Specialized training
    • Technical assistance
    • Mentoring programs
    • Legislative education and guidance
    • Statewide leadership on forensic interview best practices and access to peer reviews on the intervention and prevention of child abuse and neglect

    Learn more about Membership Benefits of the PA Chapter of CACs & MDTs.

    */ ?>
Page 1 of 212