The Vermilion County Children’s Advocacy Center (VCCAC) is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to provide a coordinated, multidisciplinary, and trauma informed response to the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases in Vermilion County.
VCCAC was founded in 2020 through the work of Vermilion County State’s Attorney Jacqueline Lacy and Sen. Scott Bennett.
What is a CAC?
The VCCAC serves child victims of abuse and their non-offending caregivers by providing services through a comprehensive, child-focused approach in a safe, neutral, environment. By bridging the gaps between law enforcement, the Department of Children and Family Services, prosecutors, and service providers during an investigation, VCCAC reduces the number of times a child has to retell their story.
Children are referred to VCCAC through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or local law enforcement when abuse is suspected. If you suspect abuse, call your local police department, 911, or the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services at 1800-25-ABUSE (1800-252-2873).
At this time, VCCAC serves families and children within Vermilion County. For information on other CAC’s throughout Illinois and their coverage areas, please visit https://www.childrensadvocacycentersofillinois.org/
What to Expect?
Allegations or suspicions of child abuse can cause many strong and confusing emotions for the families and children involved. At VCCAC, our goal is to ensure that children and their non-offending caregivers receive timely support in navigating this often-overwhelming process, while keeping the best interest of the child in mind. VCCAC uses a multidisciplinary approach to simplify the investigative process, support coordination between involved parties, and reduce trauma for the children involved. Our multidisciplinary team consists of members from VCCAC, the Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement agencies, DCFS, Carle Foundation Hospital, and the Survivor Resource Center.
When necessary, the child is interviewed by one of VCCAC’s forensic interviewers. VCCAC’s forensic interviewers are specially trained in the ChildFirst interview protocol. ChildFirst is an evidence based interviewing protocol aimed to gather information in a non-threatening manner while keeping the best interest of the child as the main focus. Every interview conducted at VCCAC is recorded for the purpose of the investigation. Although these recordings may be used as evidence, it does not always eliminate the need for the child’s testimony if the case goes to court.
Prior to a forensic interview, our Child and Family Advocate will connect with the non-offending caregivers and child to explain the interview process, identify additional service needs, and answer any questions that the family may have. When appropriate, the advocate will work to connect the family to counseling, medical, or other necessary resources. Advocates will continue to provide support to non-offending caregivers and children throughout the remainder of the investigation and through the court process if a case is taken to court.
How Can You Help?
VCCAC is a grant funded, 501(c)3 organization. The generosity of our local community helps support the mission of VCCAC and allows us to provide a welcoming, positive experience for the families we serve and our multidisciplinary partners.
A list of our current and ongoing needs can be found here. Wishlist
Arrangements for donations can be made by contacting VCCAC at 217-806-4812.
If you wish to send supplies directly to VCCAC, you may purchase items directly from our Amazon Wish List.