Testimony: Child Advocacy Centers help DAs prosecute child abuse cases

August 22, 2023

Cumberland County District Attorney Seán McCormack recently testified before the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, telling state lawmakers that the Child Advocacy Centers (CAC’s) in Pennsylvania play a crucial role in helping prosecutors hold child abusers accountable for their crimes.

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a child being interviewed by a specially trained child interview specialist,” he said at the August 8th hearing in Harrisburg. “I can tell you horror stories about interviews conducted by well meaning, but untrained, professionals and the damage those interviews did to the integrity of those investigations. As a prosecutor, having trust in the quality of the child interview is of the utmost importance.”

McCormack, who is chair of the PDAA Special Victims Prosecutors Network, said the evolution of  the “Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Teams” in the past several years has led to greater cooperation and coordination between law enforcement officers and child protective service caseworkers. All that work is done at a CAC, McCormack said.

“Over that time, I have been involved with the investigation of thousands of child abuse allegations,” McCormack said. “I have agonized over the downfalls of disjointed and uncoordinated investigations and have witnessed the successes that come from coordinated and thorough investigations. CAC’s played, and continue to play, a leading role in the coordination of investigations into child abuse allegations.”

Click here to read McCormack’s testimony.