Klingberg Children’s Advocacy Center Receives National Accreditation

Klingberg Family Centers’ Children’s Advocacy Center recently received its accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance, a national association and accrediting body for a network of Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC’s.) CAC’s provide a coordinated, evidence-based response to children experiencing abuse in all 50 states. 

The Klingberg Children’s Advocacy Center, which opened in 2017, is the hub of a partnership of professionals that investigate allegations of child abuse and exploitation in a child-friendly, developmentally and clinically appropriate, and culturally sensitive manner. In contrast to past practice which required that a child endure multiple interviews by law enforcement personnel, clinicians, medical staff, DCF child protective services workers, and prosecutors; under a CAC a single forensic interview is conducted and the findings are disseminated to all of these disciplines (the multidisciplinary team, or MDT.)

This approach dramatically reduces the number of investigative interviews for the victim, allows for medical and mental services to be more quickly and effectively coordinated for the victim and non-offending family members, and ensures that the MDT has the appropriate information to reach a result in each case that is in the best interest of the child. 

In addition to forensic interviews, the CAC offers on site medical services through a collaboration with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program; critical mental health services; MDT coordination; and advocacy to all of the families it serves to facilitate transition through the legal process, providing general support, ensuring access to needed services, and addressing immediate family needs. 

The Klingberg Children’s Advocacy Center serves children and families in the Greater Hartford region, including Hartford, Tolland, and Windham counties. 

“Klingberg’s Children’s Advocacy Center serves a critical need in the community,” said Dr. Steven Girelli, President & CEO, Klingberg Family Centers. “Klingberg’s CAC, in collaboration with our Multidisciplinary Team partners, offers high-quality, comprehensive and compassionate care 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.  

“In 2023, we served 730 children who experienced child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, and/or neglect. To put that number in perspective, that’s 2 children each day of the year,” said Erica Mello, Klingberg Children’s Advocacy Center Director. “Our Multidisciplinary Team fosters collaboration, works to recognize the unique needs of each child victim, and to reach a result in each case that is in the best interest of the child.” 

The National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is a national association dedicated to helping communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient and put the needs of child victims of abuse first. As the accrediting body for nearly 1,000 Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Chapters in all 50 states, it provides training, financial support, technical assistance, leadership, national advocacy, and access to current research findings on a national level to CACs, developing centers, multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), and other child abuse professionals. Its purpose is to unify and amplify a single-minded voice to help local communities provide comprehensive, coordinated, and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.