The Bedford Child Advocacy Center (CAC) will host an open house Thursday, Sept. 24, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., for anyone to meet the staff, tour the facility, and learn about the Child Advocacy Center services.

The Bedford CAC is located at 1085 Vista Park Drive, Forest, (enter at the back of the building). The Bedford CAC office, a program of Chidren’s Trust, has been operating since Jan. 1, 2019, to serve children in the Bedford County community.

It has working with the Bedford Multidisciplinary Team to provide forensic interviews, family advocacy and forensic medical exams to children under the age of 18 who have made allegations of abuse and/or neglect.

Each Child Advocacy Center is an interview facility that law enforcement and/or Child Protective Services use when they believe a child may have experienced abuse or witnessed a traumatic event.

“The CAC is a safe, neutral environment where the child tells about their experience to a trained interviewer who understands child development and asks questions in a way that does not re-traumatize the child,” a press release about the open house stated.

The CAC offers Victim Advocacy, which includes referrals for therapy, forensic medical exams, case management and other services. The CAC also works closely with a multidisciplinary team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocates and other professionals who make decisions together about how to help the children throughout and beyond the investigative process.

In fiscal 2019/20, Children’s Trust served children and families in 19 counties of Virginia. The Bedford CAC served 95 children. The fiscal year is the 40th anniversary of the start of Children’s Trust.

Children’s Trust is a non-profit organization that has four programs that work in child abuse prevention, intervention and advocacy.

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