The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH) is dedicated to offering children and families with compassionate care to reduce the trauma often experienced by children who are victims of abuse.
We are a safe, child-friendly place for children to speak with trained professionals and medical providers. We conduct a thorough evaluation with the child to identify the appropriate care and services needed.
A CAC alleviates the need for a child to tell their traumatic story over and over to doctors, law enforcement, investigators and others. Children share their story to a trained interviewer, who knows the right questions to ask. Then, based on the interview, a team of professionals will make decisions together on how best to help the child. These services may include therapy, courtroom preparation, victim advocacy, and medical exams.
We are the only hospital-based child advocacy center in the Huntington area.
Interviews are conducted in a child-friendly environment in tune with each child’s emotional needs. A trained interviewer will evaluate your child and ask questions that honor the child’s trust and comfort. It is important that any details about the alleged abuse come from the child. We are trained to not ask suggestive questions and to move at a pace that is comfortable for your child. We never force a child to talk.
Parents are not permitted in the room or to observe while the interview is being conducted. Only professionals directly involved in the investigation are allowed to observe the interview. This helps reduce the possible stress that a child can experience.
Your child’s interview is the first step in the investigation process. There may be witnesses that need to be interviewed, physical evidence or photographs to collect and the alleged offender will need to be interviewed. Your advocate will keep in regular contact with you and update you on the investigation and your child’s case.
Based on information obtained during the interview, members of the investigative team may decide that a medical exam is necessary. The exam will be conducted in a manner that is thorough yet sensitive to your child’s emotional and physical state.
Parents are encouraged to talk with their child and explain in general terms what to expect. Some children want their parent(s) in the room with them during the exam and some do not.
For more information about the Child Advocacy Center, please call 304.526.2349.
Please Note: The law imposes special privacy protections on child interviews conducted by the CAC, which strictly limits release of information related to such interviews. More specifically, West Virginia law provides that when a child is interviewed in the course of legal proceedings, recording(s) of the interview (electronic and/or written) and documentation related to the interview can be released only upon a court order. If a child is interviewed before commencement of legal proceedings, recording(s) of the interview (electronic and/or written) and documentation related to the interview can be released only to certain CAC staff, certain healthcare professionals involved in the child’s care and certain investigative agencies. See W.Va. Code 62-6B-6 and W.Va. Trial Court Rule 18.