2017 Year in Review

ChicagoCAC 2017 Year in Review Facebook Preview

Chicago children and families served

In 2017, ChicagoCAC responded to 2,068 reports of child sexual abuse. We provided:

  • 1,975 families with family advocacy to explain the investigative process and secure the immediate resources and support they needed.
  • 1,824 children with forensic interviews, giving them a place to talk about what happened in their own words, in their own way, to experts who listened to them, protected them and helped them heal.
  • 213 children under age 3 with coordinated, multi-disciplinary response to reports of suspected physical abuse.
  • 230 children with mental health therapy at ChicagoCAC, helping them overcome trauma and heal from abuse. We also connected an additional 110 children to therapy through our PATHH partners.

In addition, our expert teams are called on to assist child victims of many traumas. We provided family advocacy, forensic interviews and other healing services to:

  • 235 children who had witnessed violence
  • 189 children who were at risk of harm
  • 83 children who had experienced physical abuse
  • 48 children who had been trafficked

In 2018, we expect to serve more children and families across our programs, as victims and survivors speak up nationwide through #MeToo and other advocacy initiatives.


#MeToo: Sex abuse and assault in the national conversation

Millions of women and men worldwide joined voices through #MeToo. Survivors have spoken up against perpetrators and shared powerful statements, including Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney, Lupita Nyong’o and Terry Crews, to name a few.

A culture that believes victims, that allows victims to come forward without fear of retaliation or blame, that holds perpetrators accountable – this is what we need now more than ever! This is how we make a lasting impact today and tomorrow.

That’s why we at ChicagoCAC do what we do, every day, for victims of child sexual abuse. We believe them, protect them and help them heal. We equip adults to prevent abuse. We ensure that adults recognize the signs and know how to help. We take the power away from predators.

We are eager to continue joining voices with – and on behalf of – victims and survivors in 2018.


Statute of limitations eliminated in Illinois

In August, Gov. Rauner signed Senate Bill 189 into law, removing the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. This legislation ensures that time never runs out for victims of abuse to seek justice – and it helps protect our community from known perpetrators.

ChicagoCAC staff and volunteers advocated strongly for the legislation, and it passed unanimously in the Illinois House and Senate. To be notified about this and other advocacy alerts, sign up for our advocacy alerts.

ChicagoCAC 2017 Year in Review - Statute of Limitations


Education, Outreach & Prevention Team reaches more adults than ever

In 2017, our education, outreach and prevention (EOP) team reached more than 9,400 adults with trainings on preventing, recognizing, responding to and reporting child sexual abuse. Highlights include:

  • In January, we led a training for 160 new detectives, teaching them about our work on investigations of child sexual and physical abuse, as well as our forensic interviewing services for many types of cases.
  • Our fall symposium, Circles of Safety, featured Jenny Coleman of Stop it Now! More than 90 professionals learned about healthy sexuality in childhood and how it relates to abuse prevention.
  • Over the summer, we trained hundreds of 911 call-takers and dispatchers at Chicago Office of Emergency Management & Communications. This extension of our own multidisciplinary team is an essential part of getting many children and families the care they need after abuse is reported.
  • The team presented nationally about our collaboration with Chicago Park District at the National Children’s Advocacy Center Annual Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, in March and at the National Recreation and Parks Association Conference in New Orleans in September.

We lead customized, low-cost trainings for workplaces, community groups, places of worship and parents. Learn more about our trainings and help us keep momentum going in 2018. 


Families join in community building

Throughout the year, our therapists, family support specialists and volunteers hosted community-building activities in our Family Hope Center. Our families enjoyed holiday crafts, treats, dinners and even movies, all in the comfort and safety of the center. We love having our families together in a safe, fun environment as they reinforce lessons from therapy, such as patience and support – and they love it, too!ChicagoCAC 2017 Year in Review - Family Hope Center Craft Nights


Children receive back-to-school backpacks, holiday gifts

In August, hundreds of our children received backpacks filled with school supplies. Through our donation drive, generous community members collected backpacks, notebooks, writing utensils and more to give our children in need the tools to succeed in the year ahead.

At our Kids’ Holiday Party in December, more than 300 children and caregivers celebrated the season over lunch, games, crafts and other activities in a safe, joyful environment. Generous volunteers donated thousands of toys so our caregivers could “shop” for their children free of charge. The party is always one of our most special days of the year, and our families were deeply grateful.


Child Abuse Prevention Month activities raise awareness, support

In recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, our Community Advisory Council hosted BEYOND WORDS at The Public House Theater. Survivors and their family members, including dozens of our clients, created t-shirts and fabric squares sharing their strength and their journeys to healing. The exhibit traveled throughout the city to continue raising awareness during the month. Shirts were displayed at the Thompson Center, Garfield Park Fieldhouse and Ogden Park Fieldhouse.

In addition, our EOP team hosted four community trainings in April, including two entirely new curricula on supporting non-offending caregivers and changing our understanding of youth with sexually problematic behavior.ChicagoCAC 2017 Year in Review - Beyond Words


New playground gives children space to play outdoors

Generous supporters Monica and Rob Breslow (pictured here with Char) donated an entirely new playground to the center. The beautiful new structure is a welcoming, safe place for our children to play. In the spring, we celebrated their gift among family, friends and staff at our playground grand opening.

Our children immediately made use of the beautiful new space. From one staff member: “I took my client out to the playground yesterday, and as soon as we walked into the area, she exclaimed, ‘It’s a dream come true!!’ She proceeded to explore every single feature, all the while cheering things like, ‘There’s a telescope! I can see the building next door!’ and ‘There’s a mirror! I can see you!’ She said several times, ‘All the kids are going to have so much fun!'”ChicagoCAC 2017 Year in Review - New Playground with Breslows


Fundraising events raise record amounts

At our third annual Luminary Award Dinner, we honored Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of ComEd, for her longtime support of ChicagoCAC and her strong advocacy for children. The event raised more than $425,000 for our programs and services, including more than $80,000 for our Growing & Giving campaign.

In October, our tenth annual Guys’ & Gals’ Night Out for the Kids raised more than $100,000. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed delicious treats, an open bar, a silent auction and much more to support children and families healing from abuse in Chicago.

ChicagoCAC 2017 Year in Review - Luminary Award Dinner


Stay up-to-date on all of ChicagoCAC’s work by subscribing to our monthly e-newsletter and following us on Facebook and Twitter.

Chicago children and families served In 2017, ChicagoCAC responded to 2,068 reports of child sexual abuse. We provided: 1,975 families with family advocacy to explain the investigative process and secure the immediate resources and support they needed. 1,824… Read More

Thank You for a Successful Kid’s Holiday Party

Each December, ChicagoCAC hosts a Kids’ Holiday Party for more than 300 clients, their siblings and caregivers. The 2017 party was held on Dec. 16th and our kid’s couldn’t have been more thrilled! Families enjoyed an afternoon of crafts, games and lunch, while caregivers had the opportunity to “shop” (free of charge) for gifts for their children. 

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Volunteers and staff set up toy shop for families while kid’s enjoy crafts at the Kid’s Holiday Party.

ChicagoCAC is thankful for all the support community members provided to make this a special event for our clients. Thank you to everyone who volunteered, hosted a toy drive, donated gifts from our clients’ wish lists, or assisted in covering the costs of the event. You helped provide a care-free afternoon for the families we serve and it was truly appreciated.

Want to get involved in future ChicagoCAC events? Visit chicagocac.org/get-involved.

 

 

Each December, ChicagoCAC hosts a Kids’ Holiday Party for more than 300 clients, their siblings and caregivers. The 2017 party was held on Dec. 16th and our kid’s couldn’t have been more thrilled! Families enjoyed an afternoon of crafts,… Read More

#GivingTuesday

Thank you to the generous donors who contributed more than $29,000 on #GivingTuesday! Every dollar raised honors the everyday heroes at ChicagoCAC who help children and families heal from sexual abuse in Chicago. There’s still time to support our work! Learn more.

Recommendations for DCFS

This is an excerpt from Char Rivette’s testimony to the Illinois Human Services Committee regarding the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. More information from Chicago Tribune


We would like to see DCFS review its policies to ensure that all required cases are referred to the local Children’s Advocacy Center and increase training of hotline workers and investigators to make sure they are aware of the types of cases that should be referred to CACs.

We recommend developing a check and balance system to review hotline calls to identify potentially missed referrals to CACs while simultaneously identifying patterns that may allow for additional training and improvement in DCFS procedures.
We recommend a pilot program in which a selected CAC reviews all DCFS hotline calls in its jurisdiction. In Texas, a statewide pilot that allows CACs to review hotline intake reports and facilitate CAC referrals for qualifying cases resulted in CACs serving 9,000 more children in 2016 than in 2014, when the first pilot was launched. This was not a result of more kids entering into the system. Rather, it was the result of cases that qualified for a CAC investigation being properly referred.

We also recommend that a workgroup or oversight committee be established to review hotline calls and identify opportunities for increased involvement by CACs.

Finally, we’d advise strengthening the training that mandated reporters receive. Rather than moving toward a requirement that all adults become mandated reporters, we advocate for increased training for existing mandated reporters to ensure that they have the tools to know what to look for and understand their responsibility to report any and all suspicions of child abuse. Training should be mandatory with periodic refreshers. As part of this, we recommend that training be added as a required component when mandated reporters apply for professional license renewal with the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.

Further, it is our belief that universal mandated reporting would not necessarily keep children safer. Recent research has found that, compared to states requiring specific professionals to be mandated reporters, states with universal mandated reporting laws do not have significantly higher rates of reports or report dispositions.

We believe that allocating resources to increase awareness and training for professionals regarding mandated reporting would have the most significant impact on ensuring that children at risk of abuse are protected.

The goal of all of us here today is to keep kids safe. Children’s Advocacy Centers are proud to serve on the front lines with DCFS to protect the children of Illinois, and we look forward to working together to improve our capabilities. Thank you.

This is an excerpt from Char Rivette’s testimony to the Illinois Human Services Committee regarding the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. More information from Chicago Tribune.  … We would like to see DCFS review its policies to… Read More

It’s time.

The cultural shift in the last few weeks has been notable. A culture that believes victims, that allows victims to come forward without fear of retaliation or blame, that holds perpetrators accountable – this is what we need now… Read More

ChicagoCAC Stakeholder Conference Call

On our October 11 Stakeholder Conference Call, ChicagoCAC Executive Director Char Rivette shares the latest news about our programs, finances, community outreach and upcoming events. Listen below!

If you have questions or would like more information, contact Ashley Howard: AHoward@ChicagoCAC.org or (312) 492-3725.

On our October 11 Stakeholder Conference Call, ChicagoCAC Executive Director Char Rivette shares the latest news about our programs, finances, community outreach and upcoming events. Listen below! If you have questions or would like more information, contact Ashley… Read More

A Walk in Their Shoes

ChicagoCAC A Walk in Their Shoes 110917

Thursday, November 9 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Join Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center for this special evening to walk the path our clients take toward healing. After a brief presentation, staff will lead a tour of the center, highlighting each of the programs we offer to children and families healing from sexual abuse.

Please RSVP to Ashley Howard: 
(312) 492-3725 or AHoward@ChicagoCAC.org

Thursday, November 9 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Join Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center for this special evening to walk the path our clients take toward healing. After a brief presentation, staff will lead a tour of the center, highlighting… Read More

Q4 Stakeholder Call

ChicagoCAC Stakeholder Conference Call Graphic - Oct 11 FB

Join ChicagoCAC Executive Director Char Rivette for our quarterly Stakeholder Conference Call on Wednesday, October 11 at noon. You’ll hear the latest news about our programs, finances, community outreach and upcoming events.

Add to your Outlook calendar.

Add to your Google calendar.

Join ChicagoCAC Executive Director Char Rivette for our quarterly Stakeholder Conference Call on Wednesday, October 11 at noon. You’ll hear the latest news about our programs, finances, community outreach and upcoming events. Add to your Outlook calendar. Add to… Read More

Place your bids!

Guys’ & Gals Night Out is tonight, but the auction starts NOW! Check out our selection of getaways, beauty packages, experiences and family-friendly entertainment! As always, all proceeds support ChicagoCAC’s work.

Guys’ & Gals Night Out is tonight, but the auction starts NOW! Check out our selection of getaways, beauty packages, experiences and family-friendly entertainment! As always, all proceeds support ChicagoCAC’s work.

Tribune: Police, DCFS cutbacks strain center that investigates child sex crimes

Thank you to Chicago Tribune for highlighting ChicagoCAC and the challenges we and our partners face in protecting our community’s children in this article from August 23, 2017. As we continue supporting and coordinating the efforts of our… Read More