Planning History !
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 2001.

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, 2002.

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 accomplishments include:

* Letters of intent signed by all participating community agencies
* 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 incorporation drafted,
* 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 feasible),
* 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 jurisdiction).
* 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 jurisdictions.
* 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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