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National Symposium on Child Abuse: New Research, More Teamwork

PHOTO: Chris Newlin is executive director of the National Children's Advocacy Center. About 850 CACs around the U.S. handled 267,000 child abuse cases in 2012. Courtesy of National CAC.
PHOTO: Chris Newlin is executive director of the National Children's Advocacy Center. About 850 CACs around the U.S. handled 267,000 child abuse cases in 2012. Courtesy of National CAC.
March 19, 2013

PHOENIX - Professionals in child abuse investigation and treatment, including some from Arizona, are meeting this week in Huntsville, Alabama. At the National Symposium on Child Abuse, they are getting the latest research on topics such as trauma-focused therapy, sex trafficking and online exploitation.

Many youngsters are now seen at Children's Advocacy Centers, where they are interviewed by specially trained investigators and receive medical treatment and counseling.

According to the Director of the National Children's Advocacy Center, Chris Newlin, it's less stressful for kids and families to receive these services in a single place.

"Child abuse, especially child sexual abuse, is not just a criminal justice issue, not just a Child Protective Services issue," Newlin said. "It's that, plus a mental health issue, a medical issue, and only by having these professionals work together, we'd be able to be effective in our response."

Newlin said they're seeing a troubling trend, an increase in child neglect across the country.

Fifteen Children's Advocacy Centers in Arizona coordinated about 5500 cases last year, most of them involving sexual abuse.

There are 850 Children's Advocacy Centers nationwide. They also provide child abuse prevention training to more than a half-million people a year.

Newlin said the child-friendly setting and team strategy have paid off for county and state budgets and for individual families.

"Utilizing the CAC approach, we have better outcomes and we save more than a thousand dollars per case. Just by utilizing this model that's more effective, we saved our nation a combined $270 million."

The National Symposium on Child Abuse runs through Thursday.

View CAC statistics by state at NationalChildrensAlliance.org.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ