Children are referred following a report to law enforcement or the Department for Children and Families of suspected child abuse, neglect, exploitation or human trafficking. Once an investigation is started, the CACSC will provide support and therapy services at no cost.
The CACSC is a child friendly place that helps children and families recover from all types of abuse or neglect. Children come to the CACSC where specially trained people talk to children who have been abused. Other services are available at the same place and include therapy, advocacy and medical exams.
A forensic interview is a conversation with a child in which detailed information about any possible abuse the child may have experienced or witnessed is gathered in a very structured format. The purpose of a forensic interview is to assess the safety of the child’s living environment and to gather information about the need for further services.
Advocacy and therapy services provided by the CACSC are available at no cost to the family.
CACSC staff includes advocates, therapists and administration. Others who investigate child abuse cases work with the Exploited and Missing Child Unit (EMCU). They are investigators with the Wichita Police Department and Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, and social workers from the Department for Children and Families. The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force is also at the CACSC. It includes investigators from the Wichita Police Department, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security and the FBI. An attorney with the District Attorney’s Office also works there, and ICT SOS staff help provide supplies and support services to children. Additional partners who help with medical services include KU Pediatrics, Wesley Medical Center, and Via Christi Health. St. Francis Community Services provides a worker who also helps put children and families on the road to recovery.
The first visit will include a meeting with a Child/Family Advocate, a forensic interview by the detectives and social workers with the Exploited and Missing Child Unit, and a review of what services and referrals you or your child might need to help you cope with what has happened. You will receive help making any additional appointments that are needed for follow up support.
Reassure your child that he or she is not in trouble and will be going to a safe place to talk to people. Encourage your child to feel comfortable telling the investigators about anything and that he or she will not be in trouble. It is best if your child is well rested and has been fed before coming, but we understand that is not always possible.
The CACSC partners work hard to share information so that additional forensic interviews can be avoided. At times, additional interviews or conversations may be necessary. If your child’s case goes to court, he or she may have to testify, or answer questions about what has happened. Support and advocacy services are provided by the CACSC and our partners during this court process. When working with a therapist, your child may be encouraged to talk about his or her experiences because talking about it can be an important part of the healing process.
This can vary greatly depending on the needs of the family and child. It is not unusual to be at the CACSC for a few hours. Follow up services and therapy appointments typically last about an hour for each visit.
The CACSC serves as a primary contact for any questions you have throughout the investigative process and later if other needs or concerns come up. Parents and caregivers are also eligible to receive therapy services. Child/Family advocates at the CACSC help connect parents and caregivers with necessary services and resources.
Call 911 if you have an immediate concern for a child’s safety. Call 1-800-922-5330 if you suspect child abuse or neglect. If you have questions about a specific case, call your assigned detective or social worker. They will give you their contact information when they meeting with you and your child, the main number is 316-660-9478. For general information and questions, call the CACSC at 316-660-9494.