Where are you located?
We are on Main Street in Bel Air, one block past Pennsylvania Avenue (Buontempo Pizza) and next to the Maryland National Guard Armory (the “castle” building). Free parking is available between our building and the Armory with the CAC entrance on the side. We are handicap accessible.
Can I bring my child directly to the CAC if I suspect he/she has been abused?
No. Any time an allegation of abuse occurs, Law Enforcement and Child Protective Services must first be involved. In order to ensure that we collect the most accurate information (or evidence) for an investigation, we cannot interview children without the coordinated approach of the multidisciplinary team.
Who do I call if I suspect a child is being abused?
Reports of abuse shall be made to the local departments of social services or the appropriate law enforcement agency. You can reach the Harford County Department of Social Services at (410) 836-4713 and (410) 838-6600 after hours.
Will my child require counseling from this experience?
Your interviewer and the CAC staff can help you evaluate your child's follow-up care. We will discuss these issues after your child's appointment and give you referral information as needed.
Do I need to bring anything with me to my child's appointment?
If there is any information that may be helpful to the investigation, please bring it with you. Also, this can be discussed when the interview is scheduled. If your child is receiving a check-up (“SAFE” exam) after their interview you need to bring his or her private insurance card or Medicaid card. You will not be charged for this service. IN ADDITION, all adults accompanying a child must bring a valid driver's license or photo ID.
Who makes referrals to the CAC?
The CAC receives referrals from the Department of Social Services and Law Enforcement agencies. Once the referral is received, a member of the multidisciplinary team will contact you to schedule an appointment.
How long will a Forensic Interview take?
The length of a Forensic Interview is determined by the needs of the child. The average interview lasts about 30 minutes depending upon the child's age and development. Adolescent interviews generally last longer than 30 minutes.
Who will conduct the Forensic Interview?
Your child will be interviewed by one of the CAC's Forensic Interviewers. All are trained in the accredited Finding Words/RATAC interview model.
Can I watch my child's interview?
Only the child and the interviewer are allowed in the interview room. This ensures the interview will be objective and non-threatening. Only members of the multidisciplinary team are allowed in the observation room. Team members meet with the parent(s) or caregiver(s) after the interview to explain the process and discuss what will happen next.
What is a SAFE exam?
A Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, or “SAFE”, is a head-to-toe checkup performed by a physician or nurse practitioner who is “SAFE”-trained. The exam includes checking eyes, ears, height, weight and the genital area. This exam is NOT a pap smear. Nothing is inserted into your child's private area and the exam is not painful. You may be present for this exam if your child requests your presence. You will receive the results of your child's exam the day of the appointment.
Who needs a SAFE exam?
Any child who alleges he or she has been penetrated; a young or nonverbal child who is unable to give a thorough disclosure; siblings of a child who has a positive exam or who gives a verbal disclosure of penetration; any child who has symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease (discharge, burning with urination, abdominal pain, sores or a rash in the genital area or throat, itching of the genitals, or a sore throat following oral-genital contact) should receive a “SAFE” exam.
Who will perform the exam?
If the child has not already been examined by one of the local hospitals, the CAC contracts with a medical provider who will perform the exam. These individuals have received specialized training through Sexual Assault Forensic Exam/Child Abuse Resource and Education (“SAFE”) Network to recognize the signs of abuse and make the exam process as easy as possible for a child. The “SAFE” Network requires that examiners commit the required amount of time to become "SAFE” trained.
How long will the exam take?
Before the exam, our medical provider will discuss the child's medical and social history with the parent or guardian accompanying the child. This often takes place while the child is participating in a Forensic Interview. The actual exam only lasts about 30 minutes.
How much does the exam cost?
Families are NEVER billed for exams or interviews.