The Bradley H. Foulk Children's Advocacy Center of Erie County, Inc. is dedicated to the delivery of a timely, effective, coordinated, community response to allegations of child abuse and to child abuse prevention. Our services will promote the safety and well-being of children while reducing trauma in a child-friendly environment.
The Bradley H. Foulk Children's Advocacy Center of Erie County (CAC), was founded in 2001 after a two-year community study process convened by then District Attorney, Bradley H. Foulk and community leaders to identify the best model to respond to incidences of child abuse. In 2002 the CAC was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation and received it's designation as a 501, (c), 3, Public Charity by the IRS. That same year the countywide Child Abuse Protocol was first adopted for Erie County and an interagency agreement signed that included the District Attorney, Child Protective Services (OCY), Victim's Advocacy (Crime Victim Center), all law enforcement agencies in the county (22+ departments), Hamot and Saint Vincent Hospitals.
In 2002 the CAC began a multidisciplinary team review of all cases. The MDT was comprised of representatives of DA, OCY, Law Enforcement, Victims' Services, medical, mental health, adult and juvenile probation and parole. A full-time Forensic Interviewer was hired in 2004 and the CAC began videotaping all interviews. The CAC was fully accredited by the National Children's Alliance (NCA) in 2005 and reaccredited in 2010. Since 2005 the CAC has utilized NCA Trak for case tracking. Throughout its history the CAC has offered presentation and trainings geared toward development of professionals, mandatory reporting, child abuse prevention and related topics. The CAC, from 2006 to 2010 through a grant from ODJJP, was a pilot site for the Safe Start Program of trauma focused play therapy. Each year for the last ten years the CAC has conducted about 300 forensic interviews each year and managed services for about 450 children per year.
In January 2014 the CAC purchased a 5,700 square foot office building, formerly a medical office, and remodeled the space to better serve the children. We are now able to conduct two interviews simultaneously. Other partner agencies are now able to meet our clients onsite at the CAC. We soon hope to be able to provide forensic medical examinations on-site thus making access easier for the child and her/his family. The full-time staff consists of an Executive Director, a County Detective from the DA's Office, Family/Victim's Advocate, a Forensic Interviewer and two Detectives from the Erie Bureau of Police. On any given day, the office is visited by police from other Erie County departments and case workers from OCY who attend the interviews. The Center also has an active Board of Directors that governs the operations of the CAC and assists with fundraising and special projects.
Organizational Capacity/Leadership: The Bradley H. Foulk Children's Advocacy Center of Erie County, Inc. is a 501 (c), (3) nonprofit designated by the IRS as a public charity incorporated according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As such the CAC is governed by a Board of Directors. The Board meets six times a year, approves policies and budgets and actively works to advance the mission of the CAC. The Board establishes a yearly budget for the CAC, is active in fundraising and is pursuing strategies for long-term sustainability. The current strategic plan was adopted in 2015 and is actively being implemented.
The day to day leadership of the CAC is under the direction of the Executive Director. The current incumbent has been in the position since February 2010 and has over 25 years in nonprofit leadership. He is experienced in governance, personnel management, finance, fundraising, grant writing, public presentation and publicity. For the last three years he has served as Treasurer of the PA Chapter of CACs and MDTs as well as holding membership on the Chapter communication and executive committees.
The Forensic Interviewer has been employed in that position since 2004. She is trained in several national forensic interviewing protocols. She is required to attend national training each year, participates in national peer review via video link sponsored by the Midwest Regional CAC, and participates in forensic interviewer journal club calls Each year she participates in at least four peer review sessions sponsored by the PA Chapter and serves as the lead forensic interviewer for the PA Chapter peer review project. The County Detective assigned to the CAC (co-located) by the DA's office also is trained as a Forensic Interviewer. He has been with the CAC since it was founded and meets the same training criteria as the Forensic Interviewer.
Erie County employs the CornerHouse Forensic Interviewer Protocol which has recently released a major update of its protocol.
The CAC has been successfully operating in Erie County since 2001. Child protective Services and all law enforcement agencies have signed and abide by the countywide protocol. Victims' Advocacy, Medical, Mental Health, and related agencies are participants in the MDIT and provide services for victims and their families. Over the years there have been changes in personnel, including leadership, at the CAC, District Attorney's Office, Child Protective Services (OCY), Victims' Advocacy, Medical Providers and Mental Health agencies. The CAC response has continued to be implemented and new personnel oriented to the process. When the inevitable changes and challenges occur, the CAC response has continued uninterrupted. Each situation has been successfully addressed by the MDIT and the CAC.
Where We Work
What We Do
The Children's Advocacy Center works with various governmental and service providers in Erie County, Pennsylvania to insure a child-centered, child-friendly response when it is discovered that a child may be a victim of abuse. We participate in both the investigative and recovery aspects of the response and facilitate ongoing communication between all participating agencies. We also provide training for professionals and general child abuse awareness and prevention education for the public.