2017 marks 20 years since CALICO first opened its doors. This historic anniversary measures not only 20 years of providing interviews for children, but also years of providing support to families, helping coordinate multi-disciplinary team responses, offering professional trainings, and reaching out to the community. In this time, CALICO has helped more than 11,500 children achieve justice and healing. This remarkable figure would not have been possible without the support of our partners and community members like you. With your support, 11,500 lives have changed for the better. To understand how important this anniversary is, it is vital to look back at what child abuse cases were like 20 years ago.
Before children’s advocacy centers, like CALICO, children had to disclose their abuse in an incredibly different and difficult way. Children had to tell their experiences to police officers, child protection workers, doctors, lawyers, judges, court investigators and more. They would have to recount, and relive, what might be the worst moments of their young lives to complete strangers over and over again. They also might have to do this in unsuitable or even frightening environments, like police stations or at home with the perpetrator in the next room. What’s more, the well-meaning adults talking to these children were often not trained in child development, suggestibility, or even memory. While their questions were intended to help investigators understand what happened, they could lead confusion and often hurt the case against the abuser. Alameda County wanted better for its children. It joined a national movement by opening a children’s advocacy center: CALICO. Since 1997, CALICO has provided a safe place where children can talk about allegations one time to a specially trained interviewer. CALICO’s very first interview was provided on May 20, 1997.
Looking back at the last 20 years we cannot believe how much CALICO has grown. We are so honored to have served so many children and families. Looking forward, we are committed to continuing to expand our work. With your continued support, CALICO will provide intervention and treatment to every child who needs us. Also, we hope to expand our prevention services. Indeed, we would love to put ourselves out of business by putting an end to child abuse altogether. We hope that you will join us in this commitment. Read our prevention tips to learn what you can do to stop child abuse and keep the children in your life safe and healthy.