A place for children who have been hurt to find help and begin to heal.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of San Francisco (CAC) is a safe place where children who have been abused go to receive a forensic examination and interview.
Founded in 2014 and coordinated by Safe & Sound, the CAC brings together law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy to collaborate and investigate child abuse reports, conduct forensic interviews, determine and provide evidence-based interventions, and assess cases for prosecution.
3450 Third Street, Building 2, Suite 300, San Francisco CA 94124
(415) 694-5840 or after hours: (415) 206-8386
You can explain to your child that this is a place where children come to talk to someone about what may have happened to them. Children should be instructed to tell the truth and should be told that it is safe to talk to the interviewer. Parents are encouraged to explain to their children that they might have a medical check-up by a medical provider.
After the interview, the team will sit down with a safe parent or caregiver and discuss appropriate mental health referrals.
No, you don’t need to bring anything. However, it’s helpful to know your insurance, and information about your medical care provider so that the team is able to refer to appropriate mental health and follow up for primary care.
The CAC is by appointment only. Appointments are attainted by referral from another organization or agency. Forensic interview referrals can be initiated by the San Francisco Police Department or by Children and Family Services. The forensic medical exams are requested by the San Francisco Police Department, Children and Family Services, or medical provider in the community.
The length of the interview is determined by the needs of the child. On average an interview will last about 30-60 minutes depending upon the child’s age and development.
Your child will be interviewed by a trained Forensic Interviewer in the language requested.
Only the forensic interviewer and the child are allowed in the interview room. This ensures that the interview will be objective and non-threatening. Additionally, only members of the multidisciplinary team — such as police, district attorney, child protective services — are allowed in the observation room. After the interview is over team members meet with a safe parent or caregiver to explain the process and discuss next steps.
Be understanding. This experience is like no other. It may bring out reactions and behaviors that leave both of you feeling angry, uncertain, or out of control.
Be patient. For a time, the child may feel unsafe and insecure in the world. As you gain resources and information, you can help to restore a sense of safety.
Be loving. Spend time with the child, doing things that they enjoy, without any pressure. Reassure them of your love and respect.
Keep it simple. For a time, you and the child may find it difficult to concentrate. Even simple things may be hard to remember. Do not make any major life changes or introduce unnecessary challenges.
Keep it real. Whatever you and the child are feeling is normal and understandable. Help the child understand what to expect as their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors change over time.
No. Additionally, families may qualify for the Victim’s Compensation Program.
Be willing to talk about anything. As a trusted adult, establish open and honest communication with the child. Create a relationship where they feel safe sharing real-life situations with you. Let them know that they can always come to you for help, without fear of judgment. Talk with the child directly about the risks and dangers in both the real world and online.