We can help you tell the story of Children’s Advocacy Centers.
We want to be a resource for media professionals in Pennsylvania. Whether you’re a reporter writing for online news, a local TV anchor, radio host, or independent blogger on issues affecting children—we’re here for you! Please use any information on this resource page, with attribution to PennCAC or the original source as appropriate.
Watch this 1-min. overview by our accrediting organization National Children’s Alliance to learn the basics.
What is PennCAC?
Established in 2007, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania (PennCAC) is a statewide nonprofit coalition or “State Chapter” of local centers accredited through National Children’s Alliance (NCA). There are 41 CACs in the Keystone State. You may look up a center’s contact information using our interactive online map or download a map showing county and accreditation status information.
Our Mission: To promote and support the development, growth, and continuation of the multidisciplinary approach and Children’s Advocacy Centers for the protection of Pennsylvania’s children.
Our Work: We provide resources, training, and support for growth and development to CACs and their professional partners; create greater public awareness about the vital work being done by CACs to stop abuse and help children heal; and improve the delivery of a collaborative model of care in areas where CAC services are limited.
(A) Any recent act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious physical injury to a child.
(B) An act or failure to act by a perpetrator which causes nonaccidental serious mental injury to or sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.
(C) A recent act, failure to act or series of the acts or failures to act by a perpetrator which creates an imminent risk of serious physical injury to or sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.
(D) Serious physical neglect by a perpetrator constituting prolonged or repeated lack of supervision or the failure to provide the essentials of life, including adequate medical care, which endangers a child’s life or development or impairs the child’s functioning.
The majority of cases referred to Children’s Advocacy Centers are for child sexual abuse allegations. Sexual abuse occurs when an adult or another child asks or pressures a child for sexual contact. The abuser may use physical abuse, bribery, threats, tricks, or take advantage of the child’s limited knowledge of sexual matters. Sexual abuse can also include taking photos of the child, or showing them pornography through pictures, magazines, movies, online, etc.
Parents often warn children against “stranger danger” but in most cases of child sexual abuse, the perpetrator is not a stranger but a relative or close friend of the family.
CACs also respond to cases of child physical abuse, extreme neglect, and trafficking (CSEC—Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children). CACs also serve children who have suffered emotional trauma as witnesses to violence.
For more information on how to recognize and report child abuse in Pennsylvania, visit our Awareness & Prevention page.
Facts & Statistics
• 1 in 10 children will experience abuse before their 18th birthday • 90% of perpetrators are a family member or someone the family knows and trusts • Even when there is evidence of suspected child abuse, 60% of victims never disclose • There are 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse living in the U.S. today • In 2021, Pennsylvania CACs served 15,474 children and their families • 75% of children who visit CACs in Pennsylvania are there because of allegations involving sexual abuse
Child abuse is a difficult topic, for reporters and for readers. We believe that media professionals have a unique opportunity to facilitate awareness and education that may ultimately help to protect children. We need your help to reach new audiences and inform a public conversation about child abuse, prevention and reporting, and the role of CACs in helping victims heal. We encourage reporters to review the following best practices for how to report effectively and sensitively on stories involving children and young adults, or any crime victim: Ethical guidelines for reporting on children | UNICEF
For specific questions, interview requests, or referrals to local CAC contacts, please reach out to: