SOS celebrated the re-opening of the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) and expansion of services in Coffey County during a ribbon cutting and open house Thursday at the Coffey County SOS Outreach Office. Members of the public were able to tour the office and visit with SOS staff to learn more about the services provided to the local community. The assistance of local law enforcement was a great help to the organization in re-opening the facility. SOS Executive Director Connie Cahoone expressed her thanks, saying “I am extremely grateful for the continued help from Burlington Police Chief Doug Jones and Lieutenant Detective Garen Honn of the Coffey County Sheriff’s Office. Without these gentleman, this endeavor would not have been possible.”
The SOS Child Advocacy Center provides a child-friendly, neutral facility in which to interview children involved in cases of alleged child abuse or neglect. The CAC is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance and receives case referrals from law enforcement or the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) to facilitate a child disclosure interview for prosecution purposes. A highly trained professional conducts the interview while investigative professionals observe via closed-circuit television. The child’s interview is digitally recorded, ensuring comprehensive and quality interviews while reducing the number of times a child must make a statement. The CAC also coordinates a multidisciplinary team that monitors case progression and makes victim-centered decisions about the investigation, treatment, management, and prosecution of each case. The CAC offers support to the child and caregivers from case referral to case resolution.
Since 2003, SOS has provided services to individuals in Coffey County who have experience sexual and domestic violence, and the organization also provides services to those who have experienced stalking, human trafficking, child abuse and neglect. In 2022 the SOS Child Advocacy Center assisted 8 child victims of sexual abuse from Coffey County. The number of services for any individuals who have experienced sexual or domestic violence, stalking or human trafficking in the county increased 59% in 2022 from the previous year. SOS also provides prevention education to local schools, organizations, and businesses, including 46 educational and community presentations in the county in 2022. The re-opening of the CAC in Coffey County allows SOS to better serve children who have been abused and neglected. A wide range of services are available through SOS. However, the CAC can only receive referrals from DCF or law enforcement.
According to the National Children’s Alliance, CACs save the communities they serve court, child protection, and investigative dollars. Additional, CACs provide greater coordination in investigations and lead to higher rates of prosecution of child abuse perpetrators. CACs also increase the referrals given for services like mental and physical health care that help a child heal after abuse.
The Coffey County SOS Outreach Office and Child Advocacy Center is located at 107 S. Sixth Street in Burlington. To learn more about any of the services provided by SOS, please contact email@example.com. Those who have been affected by sexual and domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, child abuse and neglect can call 1-800-825-1295 or text SOSKS to 847411 to confidentially speak with an advocate 24 hours a day.
Stay informed of what's happening at SOS!