Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi (CACM) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary of saving and protecting the abused, neglected, and trafficked children of Mississippi. To honor this major achievement, CACM is initiating a yearlong, statewide movement, “I Protect Children” that encourages everyone to become aware and get involved to improve the environment for child victims and families of abuse and maltreatment.
“During the 20-year journey of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi, we have served and protected 44,064 children,” said Karla Tye, Executive Director of CACM. “By launching the ‘I Protect Children’ movement, we hope to spread awareness of the groundbreaking work child advocacy centers around the state are achieving. Some of our most important innovations include coordinating investigative training and teamwork across agencies, our nationally recognized educational collaborations with state colleges and universities, our research-based advances in investigative forensic interviewing, and our emphasis on victim advocacy and treatment. These remarkable achievements are profoundly changing the future for so many of our at-risk children.”
Since its establishment in 2001, the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi has grown to 12 local child advocacy centers across the state. These centers provide critical services to children that are victims of child abuse, neglect, and trafficking. The goal is to have every county covered by a local child advocacy center to help protect the vulnerable children of Mississippi.
CACM has also enacted the concept of Multidisciplinary Teams throughout the state, which collectively brings together all the necessary medical and prosecutorial parties to maximize convictions while minimizing the child’s trauma. The collaboration begins with the training programs that emphasize recognition, competency, and cooperation for all members, so each individual knows his/her role and understands how to manage situations throughout an investigation.
In the last 20 years, CACM also implemented Child Advocacy Studies, a nationally recognized curriculum, in 27 colleges and universities across the state. This has allowed the educational and training process to be uniformed and streamlined to maximize the effectiveness and to better prepare professionals entering the advocacy workforce. In 2019, CACM became a leader in the nation by opening the Child Advocacy Training Institute, an educational facility for simulation training. It is the only center of its kind in Mississippi dedicated to child abuse recognition training for professionals and students.
With “I Protect Children,” one of the many goals is to inform every Mississippi citizen that they are a mandated reporter by law. If someone suspects there is child abuse, neglect, or trafficking, they are required by law to report it. Anyone can call 1.800.222.8000 to file a report anonymously with MDCPS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“Every CACM program is established to protect the children of Mississippi, and although our ‘I Protect Children’ movement is to celebrate CACM’s 20th Anniversary,” said Karla Tye, “we hope that it will continue to spread awareness and inspire individuals to get involved for years to come.”
If you’re interested in joining our “I Protect Children” movement, please contact your local child advocacy center or visit childadvocacyms.org/I-Protect-Children to learn how you can get involved.
On January 11, 2021, CACM will be kicking off the “I Protect Children” yearlong movement virtually with a Facebook Live event. Please follow their Facebook page for more information regarding the launch.