One child, one place, one time
When a child has been abused it can be a scary and confusing time. Child abuse investigations can sometimes further victimize the child by repeated interviews that not only re-traumatize the child, but also risk tainting the child’s testimony, which can affect the ability to successfully prosecute the offender.
The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) of the Central Susquehanna Valley, a division of the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, was created to help reduce the number of interviews being conducted during child abuse investigations.
The CAC offers victim interviews by trained forensic interviewers as medical examinations, crisis intervention counseling and ongoing case tracking.
By implementing a collaborate approach, each agency actively participates in the investigation by becoming part of the investigative team. Those team members observe the forensic interviews and actively discuss the dynamics of the case. This allows for a comprehensive investigation that both respects the overall health of the child and increases the likelihood of successful prosecution of the offender. Children and Youth Services, physicians and law enforcement officials refer cases to the CAC when they determine CAC services are appropriate. A “one child, one place, one time” philosophy allows for a collaborative approach that is better for the child.
The CAC will handle cases of sexual abuse, serious physical injury, life threatening endangerment and witness to violent crime. Referrals to the Child Advocacy Center can be made by law enforcement officials, Child Protective Service workers, District Attorneys or private physicians by calling the CAC at 570-473-8516.
The CAC is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Cases requiring emergency medical examinations that occur after hours or on weekends will be handled in the Emergency Department at Geisinger Medical Center. Emergency Department staff will notify the CAC coordinator the following business day to arrange follow up services if needed.
- Melissa Hummel, Coordinator
- Pat Bruno, MD, Medical Director
- Sherry Moroz, Forensic Interview Specialist
The Child Advocacy Center of the Central Susquehanna Valley strives to embrace victims of child abuse and provide a balance of safety, healing and empowerment while pursuing the accountability of the offenders. The Child Advocacy Center is dedicated to:
- Increasing the number of offenders held accountable for crimes against children
- Reducing the number of interviews that a child must endure
- Providing access to specialized mental health treatment for victims and non-offending family members
- Increasing awareness about child abuse and neglect within our communities
- Utilizing a collaborative multidisciplinary approach in the investigation of child abuse cases
- Empowering the non-offending parent to support their child in the intervention and healing process
- Providing quality, culturally sensitive services so that no family is faced with boundaries due to race, ethnicity, language or cultural differences
With compassion and dedication, the CAC of the Central Susquehanna Valley commits to protecting and healing those who cannot do so alone. We commit to the children.
Observation room; children can be interviewed by a single trained forensic interviewer while other
professionals and officials can observe and record the information.