In the summer of 2001 Dr. Diane Hodge and
Rana Duncan-Daston, from Radford University School of
Social Work, met with administrators of agencies involved
in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse and
severe neglect cases in the New River Valley to discuss
their interest in developing a CAC. Meetings were also held
with the Radford University departments of nursing,
psychology, criminal justice, and education. This idea was
well received and a kick off event was held in October
Following this event a task force formed, meeting every 6
to 8 weeks, to develop the NRV-CAC. The task force is made
up of stakeholders from the prosecutors’ office, child
protective services, law enforcement, medical, domestic
violence, mental health, and child abuse prevention and
advocacy agencies/programs in the NRV. Faculty from social
work, psychology, criminal justice, and nursing are also
representatives on the task force.
University and community partnerships/collaborations are
not uncommon. They support the mission of land-grant
universities, and many smaller state and private colleges
build service relationships within the communities where
they are located. However, Radford University’s partnership
with Pulaski, Montgomery, Floyd, and Giles Counties and
Radford City in developing a CAC is unique in its scope.
There are only two other universities in the nation that
are connected with a CAC, both of these programs serve one
jurisdiction and are located in urban cities.
In late August 2002, at a task force meeting one member
expressed his frustration that we had been meeting a year
and he just wanted to know "when we were going to start
seeing children?" others in the room nodded their heads in
agreement. In response to this sentiment Marilyn Rigby,
Director of the School of Social Work, and Jenny Burroughs,
Assistant Professor, volunteered to meet with the existing
multi-disciplinary teams in each of the jurisdictions
during one of their regularly scheduled meetings. The
purpose of the meetings was to:
1) Learn about the development of each multi-disciplinary
team in order to develop educational models that prepare
students for work in public child welfare and
2) To gain information to continue the development of the
NRV-CAC Meetings were scheduled with Montgomery County on
October 30, 2002 and with Pulaski County on November 14,
During these meetings five major topics were discussed:
vision, structure, cooperation, student integration, and
curriculum models for learning. Click here to view a
summary of the responses to the focus questions. Montgomery
and Pulaski county MDTs have established protocols for the
multi-disciplinary investigation of child abuse and severe
neglect cases. The minutes/transcriptions from each meeting
were emailed to attendees for their comments, no one
responded to the email.
There were 11 representatives at the Montgomery County MDT
meeting and 8 at the Pulaski County meeting plus Marilyn
and Jenny. In the beginning of the two MDT meetings we
discussed the accomplishments of the task force in planning
and developing a CAC in the NRV over the first year. These
* Letters of intent signed by all participating community
* A vision and mission statement developed,
* Goals and objectives written,
* Needs assessment completed, which indicate that over 300
cases were investigated and prosecuted in the NRV in 2001,
* 4 standing sub-committees were formed: funding,
governance, training, and site
* Protocol, memorandum of agreement, and articles of
* 4 grants submitted (one was funded, for $35,000),
* CAC Coordinator job description developed (now in the
process of hiring someone)
* Training needs identified and scheduled (as financially
* A site chosen (renovations and remodeling beginning),
* Database conceptualized (now operational).
As a result of these meetings we would like to make the
following recommendations for consideration in the
continuing development of the NRV-CAC:
* Develop a historical timeline of accomplishments, update
and review periodically.
* Schedule a meeting with the School of Nursing to discuss
how the family nurse practitioner can be used to perform
forensic medical examinations. Determine if chronic and/or
acute medical exams can be performed at RU clinics.
* Assess the need to have 24-hour access to the CAC 7 days
per week throughout the first year of operation.
* Seek funding to hire a forensic interviewer. In the
interim, provide training to the identified interviewers in
each jurisdiction to receive training to enhance their
interviewing skills. (Dr. Van Patten has agreed to provide
specialized training to 2 identified interviewers per
* Seek funding to provide training to all community and
university partners. Include the public school systems, RU
education department, and NRV Law Enforcement Academy in
the training plans.
* Create a regional structure that respects and enhances
the current MDTs structure. One possibility is to have the
coordinator (or forensic interviewer) incorporated as a
member of each existing or developing MDT in each of the 5
* Continue to discuss how to incorporate the NRV-CAC’s
experiences into a curriculum model.
* Identify experiential opportunities for students to learn
models of best practice with families and children
experiencing child abuse and severe neglect.
* Identify community needs that can be met by the CAC,
continuing to honor the initial commitment of this project
not to duplicate other services available to abused and
neglected children and their families in the NRV.
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