Denver Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC)
DCAC’s mission is to prevent abuse, strengthen families, and restore childhood.
Denver Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) was founded in 1995 in response to identified gaps in existing systems serving child victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence and the need for a centralized location for children to receive forensic interviews, mental health assessments, and treatment. Rates of child abuse, violence, and neglect in Denver have climbed in recent years and are currently outpacing statewide rates (Denver Children’s Affairs, 2019). The pandemic’s impact on children's exposure to mandatory reporters led Colorado’s child abuse and neglect hotline to receive 13% fewer calls in 2020 than it received in 2019 (CO4Kids, 2020). Despite decreased reporting, actual incidents of abuse and neglect are believed to have risen amid the pandemic. While reporting data for 2021 is not yet available, DCAC is experiencing a significant uptick in cases as the state is reopening, and mandatory reporters are once again seeing children more frequently.
Funding will support the prevention and treatment of childhood trauma, which is of vital importance as isolation, remote learning, job losses, economic uncertainty, and heightened health risks caused by COVID-19 are exacerbating children’s trauma and creating additional family stressors that increase children’s risk of abuse and neglect. DCAC’s caseload includes a high percentage of families with low incomes, families with histories of child abuse and severe trauma, and immigrant families who only speak Spanish. The majority of DCAC’s clients are young children, and children under the age of six are the primary focus of community outreach efforts. DCAC is remaining flexible and responsive to the rapidly changing landscape and funding from State Farm Neighborhood Assist will support DCAC in continuing to deliver needed services for the duration of the pandemic and meet the needs of this unique population for years to come.
Funding will help DCAC provide:
-Prevention programming to more than 3,500 children, 450 parents, and 200 teachers.
-Forensic interviews to 650 children who are alleged victims of sexual abuse or have witnessed homicide or acute violence.
-Mental health assessment and treatment to 1,000 children and their parents/caregivers.
-Trauma-informed training and consultation to more than 1,400 professionals, educators, and family members.
Anticipated impacts include:
-90% of children in prevention programs will increase knowledge of healthy behaviors and actions to take in potentially dangerous situations and will show improved progress towards developmental milestones.
-90% of non-offending parents/caregivers receiving victim advocacy services will receive direct referrals for support services.
-75% of treatment clients will report satisfaction on the evidence-based Youth Services Survey for Families, which measures the domains of access, appropriateness, outcome, and satisfaction.