Lewis & Clark County Children's Advocacy Center
The Lewis and Clark County Children’s Advocacy Center is a fully accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance; the alliance is a professional membership organization dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient—and put the needs of the child first.
The center provides training, support, technical assistance, and leadership on a national level to local centers and strongly believes that the combined professional wisdom and skill of the multidisciplinary team approach results in a more complete understanding of case issues and the most effective child and family-focused system response possible.
Who we are
We began in 1998 as a group of concerned Helena, Montana, residents, including professionals from child protective services, law enforcement and prosecution, pediatricians, mental health providers, domestic violence clinicians, a multidisciplinary team coordinator, and child advocates. Since that time, our network of support has grown to include the local FBI.
We are a team of compassionate professionals who respond to child victims of abuse using forensically sound protocols and procedures to increase prosecution and reduce the traumatization of children.
What we do
The consultations, interviews, and evaluations needed to secure the prosecution of an offender are done in a consolidated, efficient manner. Traditionally, the child is brought from agency to agency and office to office during the course of this process. AWARE’s Lewis and Clark County Children’s Advocacy Center brings those parties to the child.
The team is situated in a separate room, avoiding the intimidation of an overwhelming presence. The child is interviewed and evaluated in a comfortable, kid-friendly room by a professional who is skilled with whatever specifics the child brings to each different case. This interview is recorded by a subtly placed camera and fed to the other professionals on the team, thus eliminating the need for a trip to their respective offices throughout the city.
Why we do it
We do it because we—a group of concerned professionals—believe that caring for a child who has been victimized doesn’t need to be dominated by red tape, which is ours to deal with, not the child’s or family’s. We do it because children are vulnerable, and helping them should be hopeful, not intimidating. Most importantly, we do it because child abuse is a community problem. No single agency, individual, or discipline has all the skills or resources to provide the assistance needed by abused children and their families
We want to help families walk confidently through the midst of crisis, offering them help and hope.
A multidisciplinary approach to these crises requires an extraordinary level of dedication and hard work on the part of all those involved.
Without the cooperation of the following partners, the efforts of AWARE’s Lewis and Clark County Children’s Advocacy Center would not be possible.
Lewis and Clark County Attorney’s Office
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Department
Helena Police Department
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Lewis and Clark County Child and Family Services
Region IV Child and Family Services
University of Montana’s Child Welfare Training Partnership
Montana Division of Criminal Investigation— MCSART Program
Lewis and Clark County Office of Juvenile Probation
Helena Pediatric Clinic
Partners in Pediatrics
For more information contact:
Paula Samms, Director
Lewis & Clark County Child Advocacy Center