In responding to cases of sexual abuse, ChicagoCAC staff coordinate our partners’ investigation and conduct a child-friendly forensic interview. Professionals from Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, Chicago Police Department and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office observe the forensic interview via a two-way mirror to gather evidence and information required to proceed with their investigations and protection of children. These agencies comprise part of ChicagoCAC’s multi-disciplinary team, or MDT.
The center’s physical environment (adjacent office spaces, common areas, conference rooms, etc.) facilitates enhanced collaboration among members of our co-located teams and represents best practices as a trauma-informed, victim-centered agency. Co-location enhances information-sharing, making investigations more child-centered, effective and timely.
We consider MDT members our partners, and ChicagoCAC is fortunate to have all MDT members under one roof:
• Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) investigators work closely with our intake team and family advocates to ensure the well-being of child victims, including developing protective plans to ensure children’s safety while the investigation is ongoing. They will use information collected in the forensic interview to determine if a case should be indicated.
• Chicago Police Department Special Investigations Unit (SIU) detectives respond to and investigate allegations of child sexual abuse and other serious child maltreatment by collecting evidence to determine whether a crime has been committed and arresting alleged perpetrators. Our intake team, forensic interviewers and family advocates work closely with detectives to help families participate fully in the investigative process. We have approximately 35 detectives onsite.
• Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office provides legal expertise to determine whether a crime is prosecutable. State’s attorneys, along with CPD SIU detectives, use information collected by our forensic interview team to support prosecution of alleged perpetrators.
• Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago (Lurie Children’s) runs our onsite medical clinic, where board-certified child abuse pediatricians provide comprehensive, trauma-informed exams to collect any forensic evidence and ensure the health and safety of clients and their siblings.