Oneida County Child Advocacy Center Earns National Reaccreditation
National Children Alliance Recognizes Center’s High-Quality Service to Child Abuse Victims
UTICA — The Oneida County Child Advocacy Center has been awarded reaccreditation by National Children’s Alliance following an extensive application and site review process.
As the accrediting agency for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, the National Children’s Alliance awards various levels of accreditation and membership to centers responding to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first. Accreditation is the highest level of membership with National Children’s Alliance and denotes excellence in service provision.
“The reaccreditation of the Oneida County Children’s Advocacy Center by the National Children Alliance is a tremendous honor and a testament to the unparalleled work it does to protect and support the victims of child abuse in our community,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “I would like to commend Director Joseph Lisi and all of the center’s partners for the fine job they do and congratulate them on this receiving this high distinction.”
Accredited CACs must undergo a reaccreditation process every five years to ensure that best practices are continually being applied. With accreditation standards being updated in 2010, reaccreditation this year reflects Oneida County’s commitment to providing evidence-based methods practice.
In January 1990, a Child Sexual Abuse Task Force was established in Oneida County. In 1998, the Task Force was renamed the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center. The CAC handles investigations of child sexual abuse in which the victim is under 17 years of age.
The Oneida County Department of Social Services developed the CAC in conjunction with the Oneida County District Attorney and Sheriff. The four major law enforcement agencies in the County – the Oneida County Sheriff, New York State Police, Utica Police Department and the Rome Police Department along with the Whitesboro Police Department assign investigators to the CAC.
“As an organization/team of individuals dedicated to responding to child abuse, we recognize the importance of maintaining an accredited status from the National Children’s Alliance,” said Lisi, who also serves as Chief Deputy of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office. “Reaccreditation not only validates our organization’s dedication to proven effective approaches of child abuse intervention and prevention, but also contributes to consistency across the child advocacy center movement as a whole.”
In addition, there is a Child Protective Supervisor and Child Protective Caseworkers that round out the investigative staff. Forensic medical examinations are provided by trained medical professionals. Personnel from the Neighborhood Center Inc. are available to provide support to victims of abuse. The Neighborhood Center of Utica and Family Services of the Mohawk Valley also provide counseling and mental health services to victims and family members. In summary, it is a full service Child Advocacy Center dedicated to serve the children of our community.
Picente, Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara and Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol have designated the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office to manage the operations of the center. Lisi oversees the Child Advocacy Center for the Sheriff. In 2016 alone, 695 children were served at the CAC with 594 of those cases designated as sexual abuse cases.
As an accredited member of National Children’s Alliance, the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center is dedicated to providing comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.
National Children’s Alliance awards accredited membership based on a CAC’s compliance with 10 national standards of accreditation to ensure effective, efficient and consistent delivery of services to child abuse victims. Accredited members must utilize a functioning and effective multidisciplinary team approach to work collaboratively in child abuse investigation, prosecution and treatment. National Children’s Alliance also considers standards regarding a center’s cultural competency and diversity, forensic interviews, victim support and advocacy, medical evaluation, therapeutic intervention and child focused setting.
“The Oneida County Child Advocacy Center is to be commended for its continued commitment to effectively serve victims of child abuse,” said Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance. “As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, our goal is to ensure that every victim of child abuse has access to high-quality services that result from professional collaboration. By requiring accredited centers to undergo reaccreditation every five years, we ensure that evidence-based practices are being implemented and the highest quality of service is being provided.”
National Children’s Alliance is the national association and accrediting body for the 777 Children’s Advocacy Centers and 49 State Chapters serving each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first, National Children’s Alliance provides support and advocacy to its accredited membership, as well as numerous developing centers, multidisciplinary teams and child abuse professionals around the country, and the world.
As the national authority on multidisciplinary approaches to supporting child victims of abuse, the purpose of National Children’s Alliance is to empower local communities to provide comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.
Founded in 1990, National Children’s Alliance provides accreditation opportunities, financial assistance, training, technical assistance, research and education to communities, child abuse professionals and children’s advocacy centers throughout the United States in support of child abuse intervention, advocacy and prevention.
Photo Caption: (L-R) Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., Oneida County Child Advocacy Center Director Joseph Lisi, Oneida County Commissioner of Social Services Colleen Box-Fahy and Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol.