Baltimore County Department of Social Services
6401 York Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21212-2130
TTY users call via Maryland Relay
The Baltimore County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is a multidisciplinary team of Crimes Against Children police detectives, Child Protective Services social workers and forensic interviewers, physicians and nurses, prosecutors from the State’s Attorney’s Office, victim advocates, and mental health treatment providers for victims of sexual abuse who work together to help create a world where children and families are healthy and safe.
The mission of the CAC is to:
- Protect children who are victims of child abuse by developing, achieving and maintaining interagency collaboration in all phases of investigation, prosecution and treatment planning.
- Provide victims of child abuse with comprehensive and coordinated forensic interviews, medical evaluation and treatment, and psychological and social assessments and follow-up care.
- Educate the public on the recognition and reporting of child maltreatment.
The CAC is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance.
Report Suspected Child Abuse
To report suspected child abuse, dial 911 or call Baltimore County Child Protective Services at 410-853-3000 (after hours: 410-583-9398).
If you or someone you know has been abused, do not hesitate to call.
Questioning Your Child About the Abuse
Parents often feel the need to learn all the details of the abuse from their child. Please, do not question your child about the abuse as this can contaminate the investigation. However, if your child continues to talk about the abuse, you can help them by simply listening.
Bringing Your Child to CAC to Report Abuse
Do not bring your child to the CAC at any time an allegation of abuse occurs, Police and Child Protective Services must first be involved (see phone numbers above). In order to ensure that we collect the most accurate information (or evidence) for an investigation, we cannot interview children without the coordinated approach of the multidisciplinary team.
How the Experience Will Affect Your Child
Victims and families have many questions and experience many different emotions during the sexual abuse investigation. Victims sometimes blame themselves for the abuse and experience feelings of guilt for telling. Reassure your child that he or she is not responsible for the abuse and you are not angry at him or her for reporting the abuse.
Disclosing the abuse is very difficult for the victim and can bring up many emotions. Let them know that they will be able to recover from the experience, both physically and emotionally.
Because there are so many unexpected consequences from disclosing the abuse, victims often regret reporting it. Tell your child that he or she did the right thing by speaking up and that you will support them through the investigation and court.
Your assigned social worker and the CAC staff can help you coordinate your child’s follow-up therapeutic care. We will discuss these issues after your child’s appointment and give you referral information as needed. Our agency offers victim advocacy-continuing services for families experiencing sexual abuse which include clinical case management services to monitor safety for children, and provide support to families. Additional clinical services such as individual therapy, trauma focused therapy, play and art therapy for child victims, group therapy for victims and offenders, parent groups, and court preparation are offered. Treatment for victims and offenders are held in different locations.
What to Bring to Your Child's Appointment
If there is any information that may be helpful to the investigation, please bring it with you. If your child is receiving a medical check-up by the doctor, you do not need to bring his or her insurance card; you will not be charged for this service.
How to Schedule an Appointment
After a referral is made to the CAC by Law Enforcement or Child Protective Services, the social worker assigned to your case will contact you to schedule an appointment.
Length of the Forensic Interview
The length of the interview is determined by the needs of the child. Interviews generally last at least 30 to 60 minutes, although some may take longer.
Conductor of the Forensic Interview
Your child will be interviewed by either a social worker or a detective trained in the accredited Child First-RTEC interview protocol. This protocol helps your child to disclose information in a safe non-leading series of questions.
Observation of the Child Interview
Only the child and interviewer(s) are allowed in the interview room. This ensures the interview will be objective and non-threatening. The interview will be discussed with you at its completion.
What to Expect During a Medical Exam
You and your child will be seen by a pediatrician trained in child abuse and nurses who assist the pediatrician. First, the doctor will ask you and your child for some medical history and for details of what abuse may have occurred in order to help guide her exam of your child; this is a short interview and does not duplicate or replace the full Forensic Interview. Your child will then have a head-to-toe check-up including a video-recorded exam of the genital area. This exam is not a pap smear. The exam is not painful, and in most cases nothing is inserted into your child’s private area. You may be present for this exam if your child requests your presence. The doctor will discuss any findings from the exam with you at the conclusion of your appointment. The entire history and physical exam take about one hour. No forensic or DNA evidence is collected during the medical exam at the CAC; if your child has been sexually abused within the past three to five days, please contact 911 or Child Protective Services immediately to determine if your child needs to be taken to a SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Evaluation) Center for an acute medical exam and possible forensic-DNA evidence collection.
- Maryland Children's Alliance
- National Childrens' Alliance
- Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Division of Violence Prevention
- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network