Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make a referral to Western PA CARES for Kids child advocacy center?

All referrals have to come from Children and Youth Services and/or Law Enforcement.  Once a report of child abuse is made, a referral will be made to the child advocacy center.  If you suspect child abuse you can make an anonymous report to children and youth services.

Who are child abusers?

Child abusers can be anybody.  The majority of child abusers are someone that the child knows or has a trusted relationship with.  Many times abusers tell the child not to tell anyone about what they are doing.  Sometimes this is done by means of threats to injure someone the child is very close to.  It is very important to talk with your child and encourage them to talk to you if anyone ever abuses them.  Make sure you know who is watching your child and continue to talk with your child about what happens while you are not with your child.

What can I do if a child discloses abuse to me?

Stay as calm as possible.  If you get upset the child may stop talking.  Listen to what they have to say and let them know that you believe them.  Do not question the child as this could be viewed by a defense attorney as you putting ideas of what happened in the child’s head.  Let the child know that you are going to try your best to help them.   Do not make any promises because you may not be able to keep that promise.  Contact Children and Youth Services at (814) 849-3696 or the Pennsylvania Childline and Abuse Registry at 1-800-932-0313 as soon as possible.

How is the Child Advocacy Center funded?

The Child Advocacy Center is a non -profit organization and is currently funded through fundraising events and donations.  Western PA CARES for Kids began in 2008 through a small start up grant of $50,000.00 from the National Children’s Alliance.  We have continued to exist through the generous donations we receive.  Thanks to gifts from local businesses,  public agencies, local clubs like Kiwanis and Rotary , churches and individuals, Western PA CARES for Kids is able to offer this service at no cost to children and their families.

What are the future plans for CARES?

Child Advocacy Centers look different in different areas of the country because some have more resources than others.  Western PA CARES for Kids dreams of the day we can provide a child advocacy center with full services.  Not only would there be one specialized interview, but children would also receive medical assessments and therapy/counseling services on site for both the child and their non-offending parent(s).   A medical exam enhances case prosecution and most importantly, gives children knowledge that their body is healthy so the emotional healing can begin.