The Arlington County Child Advocacy Center

The Arlington County Child Advocacy Center, or CAC, is a comfortable, child friendly environment where children feel safe to share about their alleged abusive experience. While at the CAC, children receive a comprehensive assessment and services to meet their particular needs from the following professionals:

  • Law Enforcement Officers
  • Child Protective Services Social Workers
  • Commonwealth Attorneys
  • County Attorneys
  • Victim Assistance Specialists
  • Violence Intervention Specialists
  • Mental Health Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Nurses

These professionals are members of the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). The MDT collaborates and develops an individualized plan to prevent multiple contacts for the alleged child victim with the various professionals while ensuring protection and quality care.

The Arlington CAC is located at the Department of Human Services.


The mission of the Child Advocacy Center is to promote the safety and well-being of children in Arlington County when there is an allegation of sexual, severe physical and or mental abuse.

7 Steps to Protecting Our Children from Sexual Abuse

English | Spanish

Comprehensive Approach

A Child Advocacy Center is a child-focused, facility-based program where representatives from many disciplines meet to discuss and make decisions about investigation, treatment, intervention, and prosecution of child abuse cases.  They also work together to prevent further victimization of children.

The multidisciplinary team approach brings together under one umbrella all the professionals and agencies needed to offer comprehensive services: law enforcement, Child Protective Services, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy.  CACs are community-based programs designed by professionals and volunteers to meet the unique needs of its community.

  • Communities that have developed a CAC experience many benefits, including a reduction in the number of child victim interviews and increased successful prosecution.
  • Studies also indicate that communities with a CAC versus communities using the traditional CPS-law enforcement response to child abuse saves $1,318 per child abuse case, according to National Children’s Advocacy Center researchers in Huntsville, AL. The study also found that traditional investigations cost 45% more than CAC investigations.

The comprehensive approach, with follow-up services provided by the CAC, ensures that children receive child-focused services in a child-friendly environment — one in which the child’s needs come first.

Core Components of a Child Advocacy Center

  • Separate, child-friendly facilities for interviewing using a forensic interviewing model and providing services to child victims and the non-offending family members
  • Core disciplines:  law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental  health, medical, and victim advocacy
  • Coordinated multidisciplinary investigation team
  • Regular interdisciplinary case review
  • Intensive case follow-up
  • Specially-trained professionals


The Child Advocacy Center of Arlington County, VA is proud to partner with Darkness to Light ( We share their mission and join them in their work which is guided by the vision of a world free from child sexual abuse, where children can grow up happy, healthy and safe. We know that prevention is possible, and we believe that it is an adult responsibility to protect children.

Arlington County offers a comprehensive selection of trainings to professionals, parents, concerned adults and older teens. Please see below for more information on each of our trainings.

Thanks to grants and county funding these trainings are being offered at NO COST to all participants.

STEWARDS OF CHILDREN®  (2 ½ hours) -  Learn how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.  We want you to become confident and competent, knowing how to prevent sexual abuse and react skillfully if it occurs.  

HEALTHY TOUCH FOR CHILDREN & YOUTH  (1 hour) - Learn how to balance children’s needs for warmth and affection with safe, respectful ways of interacting.

TALKING WITH CHILDREN ABOUT SAFETY FROM SEXUAL ABUSE (1 hour) - Have age-appropriate, open conversations about our bodies, sex, and boundaries.  Recognize a child’s attempts to talk about their concerns.

BYSTANDERS PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM BOUNDARY VIOLATIONS & SEXUAL ABUSE (1 hour) - Describe the behavior. Set a limit. Move on.  Always make sure the person who has violated the boundary is willing to follow the limit you’ve set.

COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN (1 hour) - Commercial sexual exploitation of children is also child sexual abuse. When a child receives something of value for being sexually exploited, it should never be mistaken as the child’s consent.

All courses are offered in English or Spanish, we offer them on an ongoing basis throughout the year. We are happy to work with you and your group (school, church, sports team, office, etc) to set up a training for you virtually or  at a location of your choice in Arlington, VA.

Interested in attending / hosting a training?

Contact Jennifer Gross, LCSW, CSOTP: or call 703-228-1561.