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CHILDREN'S ADVOCACY CENTER

What is a Children's Advocacy Center?

The Children’s Advocacy Center is a safe place for kids who may have been abused. The center brings together a team of specially trained professionals who evaluate and investigates cases of child abuse and help children and their families. The center has been designed to help you and your child feel comfortable, safe and minimize trauma.

Why A CAC is Needed?

Discovering a child may be the victim of abuse, maltreatment or other trauma is a frightening, disturbing experience that affects the entire family. The investigation and response can be confusing and overwhelming, involving many different agencies and systems.

The Children’s Advocacy Center brings all services needed together in a place designed especially for children. As a result, cases are thoroughly investigated, medical counseling and victim advocacy services are provided and the trauma for the child and family is reduced.

“We are a community-based system based on partnerships. This is so key to the vision that the state of Florida has for taking care of children.”

– Senator Gayle Harrell

Services We Offer

  • ✔️ We provide a safe, supportive environment for children who may have been physically or sexually abused or have witnessed a violent act
  • ✔️ A multidisciplinary team investigates with compassion and coordination
  • ✔️ Medical evaluation and treatment by medical professionals
  • ✔️ Sensitive forensic interviews conducted by a specially trained interviewer
  • ✔️ Mental health services to meet specific needs of the children and caregivers
  • ✔️ Advocacy services
  • ✔️ Community prevention by raising awareness and knowledge of abuse

Counties Served Under the 19th Judicial Circuit

  • ✔️ Indian River County
  • ✔️ Okeechobee County
  • ✔️ St. Lucie County
  • ✔️ Martin County

Programs

Children's Advocacy Center by The Numbers

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Children served at the Children's Advcocacy Center
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Total number of alleged offenders
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Referrals to mental health provider
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Disclosure rate for victims presenting for Forensic Interview
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Transportation services provided to victims and non-offending caregivers
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Children and families receiving victim's advocacy services at CAC

CAC Videos

Multidisciplinary Leadership Team

Caroline Vinyard

Chief Executive Officer

Stephanie Castellanos

CAC Coordinator / MDT Facilitator

Angela L. Karratti

Community Outreach Coordinator

Lacey Buxton

Program Director
Hibiscus Children's Center

Wanda Eckhoff

Family Advocate
Sexual Assault Assistance Program

Veda White

DCF Unit Supervisor
The Department of Children & Families

Delilah Nine

Clinical Lead
Hibiscus Children's Center

Ashley Schutt

Senior Case Coordinator
Children's Home Society of Florida

Kenyel Day

CPT Program Director
Children's Home Society of Florida

Facility Gallery

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Caroline Vinyard

CEO, Children's Advocacy Center

 Caroline is a licensed mental health counselor with 15 years’ experience in the behavioral health field and child welfare system. She received her MBA from Liberty University in 2017 and is committed to servant leadership. “I see myself as an advocate for all children through unconditional positive regard.” The first rule of thumb is to believe the child and always make them the priority in child abuse allegations.