The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office has received a $551,975 state grant to develop an accredited child advocacy center: which aims to provide a safe environment for young victims of abuse and neglect.Â
â€œHudson County residents need and deserve a fully accredited Child Advocacy Center and the funding from this grant will now be utilized to construct and outfit Hudson Countyâ€™s new CAC in Secaucus,â€ Prosecutor Esther Suarez Suarez said in a statement.
â€œWe are excited to be able to move our plans forward to provide a nurturing environment for abused or neglected children and their families. On behalf of the members of the staff who have worked tirelessly on this project, Iâ€™d like to thank the freeholders for their wisdom in understanding the need and importance for this type of facility.”
The grant came from the State of New Jersey Department of Children and Families on December 20th, 2018 and was accepted by the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders at Thursday’s meeting.
A CAC is a child-focused, facility-based program that provides a safe, secure healing
environment for the victims of child abuse and neglect, while also providing programs that focus on the prevention of abuse and neglect.
This is achieved by the coordinated efforts of a multi-disciplinary team composed of individuals from child protection, law enforcement, prosecution, healthcare and mental health agencies, the prosecutor’s office said.
The team works together to conduct interviews and make team decisions on cases of child abuse and neglect.
This approach is intended to minimize any additional trauma to the child and non-offending caregivers, while also holding offenders accountable through the court system and ensuring procedural fairness.
In 2017, the Hudson County Prosecutor-based CAC and Victim Witness Unit engaged 296
children. Of those children, 150 cases were investigated by the Hudson County Prosecutorâ€™s
Office Special Victims Unit as child abuse cases.
The investigations include cases with multiple children that are counted as a single investigation.