At the end of April, Children’s Advocacy Centers of California (CACC) – CALICO’s State Program – held its first Leadership Summit in Sacramento. This exciting event brought together leaders from California’s established children’s advocacy centers (CACs) and emerging CACs to network, learn, and educate their state representatives about the important work CACs do.
These leaders from around the state work hard every day to ensure kids are safe and that services are being provided to as many children as possible. Most work in child-friendly buildings, with kind staff members striving to support the services each CAC provides. But CACs, at their hearts, are so much more than warm buildings, staff members, and services, they are a team of agencies working together to aid any child abuse victim. Law enforcement officers, prosecutors, Child Protective Services workers, mental health providers, doctors and many more come together in the service of children.
Presenters Cathy Crabtree and Vicky Gwiasda, both national CAC experts, talked about the importance of that team of professionals, ways to create more participation among the different agencies in child abuse cases, and ways to sustain those integrated systems throughout personnel changes. As Cathy said, “If the CAC is the body, then the team is its heart.” When all of us work together, we achieve the best results for children, putting them on the path to justice and healing. Attendees loved being able to focus on the heart of the work. One attendee said, “Great to remember the ‘why’ of what we do!”
After spending an invigorating morning together, the fired up group headed to the State Capital to meet with legislators and let them know about ways their centers help children in each of their constituencies.
After this year’s booming success CACC is already planning the next years’ Leadership Summit, which will probably be held in sunny San Diego. We are already picking out our sunglasses!