ChicagoCAC 2016 in Review
More children and families served
In 2016, ChicagoCAC served more children and families than ever before – responding to more than 2,300 total reports. We provided:
- family advocacy to more than 1,800 families to help them understand the investigative process and secure the immediate resources and support they needed in the aftermath of abuse.
- forensic interviews for more than 1,600 children, helping them talk about what happened in their own words, in their own way, to experts who listened to them, protected them and helped them heal.
- MPEEC case coordination for more than 195 reports of suspected physical abuse of children under age 3.
- mental health therapy for 319 children, helping them overcome trauma and heal from abuse.
PBC video shows impact of new building addition
We welcomed the opportunity to show off our new spaces – and what they mean to children and families – in this beautiful video from the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC). PBC served as the developer for our project, coordinated the design and procurement and managed construction of the addition on behalf of the City of Chicago.
The city’s commitment of $9 million in funding from the Western/Ogden TIF district supported the project, and ChicagoCAC’s Growing & Giving campaign is raising an additional $2.5 million in private funding through 2018.
Illinois Children’s Justice Task Force makes recommendations to improve response to abuse
In February, the Illinois Children’s Justice Task Force published a report of recommendations to the Illinois General Assembly and DCFS directed at improving investigative, administrative and judicial handling of child abuse cases, in a manner that limits additional trauma to child victims. The task force is chaired by ChicagoCAC Executive Director Char Rivette and includes many of our partners. Chicago is a pilot site for this new model and will focus on improving investigations of physical abuse.
Child Abuse Prevention Month activities inspire action
On April 6, we hosted our fourth annual “We exist” public awareness display on Daley Plaza to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and share our clients’ stories of healing. At a press conference, Executive Director Char Rivette called adults to action to keep children safe. Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County Timothy C. Evans, Judge Grace G. Dickler and members of NFL Alumni Association Chicago Chapter joined the press conference to show their support for ChicagoCAC and protecting kids.
In addition to hosting our signature Keeping Children Safe training in English and Spanish during April, we hosted a two-day symposium, “Creating a Community Action Plan.” Developed and led by the National Criminal Justice Training Center, the training drew community members to complete a Child Sexual Abuse Action Plan by identifying goals, action steps, benchmarks and timelines toward implementation.
Hastert case raises concerns over statute of limitations
In the spring, numerous media outlets reported on child sexual abuse perpetrated by former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. The case sparked national conversation about the statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for victims of child sexual abuse (and other crimes) to prosecute. ChicagoCAC believes that the clock should never run out on reporting child sexual abuse, and our staff was interviewed by WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, WBEZ’s Morning Shift and the ABC 7 Chicago evening news.
Special events raise funds, support for ChicagoCAC and our clients
Our second annual Luminary Award Dinner on May 12 marked our most successful fundraising event to date! Nearly 400 guests joined us to support the center and to honor Chicago’s First Lady Amy Rule for her contributions to our city’s children. The event raised more than $435,000 for ChicagoCAC, including $100,000 for our Growing & Giving campaign.
In July, our Associates Board hosted Brew & ‘Que, an evening for young professionals at Lagunitas TapRoom. Attendees enjoyed beer, BBQ, raffles and networking, raising more than $9,000.
In October, the 9th annual Guys’ & Gals’ Night Out for the Kids raised more than $115,000 to support our work. Hundreds of men and women enjoyed an exciting silent auction, a raffle for an Apple Watch and much more at Kaiser Tiger.
Expanded Education, Outreach and Prevention programs reach new audiences
In 2016, ChicagoCAC reached more than 8,500 adults with our education, outreach and prevention efforts. Through our Growing & Giving campaign, we provided more adults with the knowledge, tools and skills to prevent child sexual abuse, recognize the signs, respond to disclosures and report suspected abuse to the child abuse hotline. A few highlights include:
- We partnered with Brighton Park Elementary to provide primary prevention, working directly with students to educate them on staying safe and understanding that abuse is never a child’s fault. We are thrilled to expand our curriculum to include children, in addition to our ongoing staff training and policy consultation under Erin’s Law.
- At our custom training for Strengthening Chicago’s Youth at Lurie Children’s Hospital, social workers, counselors and other professionals had an energizing discussion on preventing abuse at every level of an organization and engagement strategies across our communities.
- We presented to nurses from across the state as part of the Illinois Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program. Members of our team spoke about how child advocacy centers work, the basics of forensic medical exams and the importance of forensic interviewing.
15th anniversary highlights our impact on Chicago
July marked the start of ChicagoCAC’s 15th year serving children and families affected by abuse. Since opening our doors in 2001, we’ve helped more than 30,000 children and families on the path to hope and healing. We hosted a celebration for staff and supporters to recognize the impact we’ve had on our community, honor our teams with Outstanding Service Awards, and recognize the supporters who have been with us since our founding.
Growing & Giving campaign funds vital education programming, mental health services
Our Growing & Giving campaign helps us build capacity as we sustain and grow our programs. In 2016 alone, generous supporters committed more than $225,000 toward the campaign! We put these donations to work right away to help children and families at the center, specifically focusing on our outreach and our mental health programs.
In particular, thanks to donations to the campaign, our therapists now serve more than 200 clients each month – the most we have ever served! Plus, our therapy team was able to host several support groups for caregivers on the impacts of trauma, the healing process, and supporting themselves. By expanding our mental health services, we equip families with many tools and different approaches to help them heal.
Donors bring joy to our children and families
Each year, we host two client-focused events: our Back-to-School Backpack Drive and our Kid’s Holiday Party. Through these events, generous donors provide our neediest children and families with the supplies they need for school and the toys and other gifts that every child deserves during the holidays.
Through our annual Back-to-School Backpack Drive, supporters donated backpacks and supplies to help 300 of our clients and their siblings. Our caregivers were grateful to have one less thing to worry about, and our children were thrilled to pick out a new backpack to get the school year off to the right start.
At our annual Kids’ Holiday Party in December, 300 clients, siblings and caregivers enjoyed a festive afternoon. Thanks to our incredibly generous donors, our caregivers were able to pick out multiple gifts for each of their children. Thank you to our incredible volunteers, donation drive hosts and individual donors for giving our children and families a joyful holiday season!