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Home / Neighborhood / Orange County / OC’s only children’s advocacy center receives re-accreditation, expands services

OC’s only children’s advocacy center receives re-accreditation, expands services

by Staff
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Orange County’s Child Abuse Services Team (CAST) is once again nationally recognized as a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) through its renewed accreditation by the National Children’s Alliance (NCA). The organization also awarded CAST with accreditation under the optional Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) and Physical Abuse Standards. 

For 35 years CAST has brought together public safety agencies, medical professionals, social workers, child interview specialists and child advocates in a multi-disciplinary team to conduct child sexual abuse investigations in a manner that keeps the victims’ needs at the forefront. In meeting the criteria for the optional standards, CAST can also provide services for children who are victims of or witness to human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, and physical abuse. 

“Our reaccreditation and the addition of the optional CSEC and Physical Abuse Standards is an acknowledgement of what makes our Children’s Advocacy Center so unique: the high levels of collaboration and coordination between the departments in the County of Orange, local law enforcement, the medical community and of course the volunteer child advocates who remain with the children throughout the investigation process and the victim advocates who support families during the legal process,” said An Tran, director of the County of Orange Social Services Agency, CAST’s lead agency. 

CAST, the only CAC in Orange County, works with all 23 local law enforcement jurisdictions to bring victims and witnesses to the center for forensic interviews, medical exams and/or crisis intervention therapy. In 2023, CAST served nearly 660 children, conducting 478 forensic interviews, completing 80 sexual abuse exams, and 20 physical abuse exams. Victim witness had 471 referrals.

NCA ensures all CACs provide children and families with effective, efficient, relevant and compassionate services through an accreditation process every five years. 

“The Child Abuse Services Team is to be commended for its continued commitment to effectively support the statewide CAC movement in California,” said NCA Chief Executive Teresa Huizar. “As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, our goal is to ensure that every victim of child abuse has access to high quality services that result from professional collaboration.”

If you suspect a child is experiencing abuse or neglect, call the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 714-940-1000 or 800-207-4464, or your local law enforcement agency.

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