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You've got questions. We've got answers.

Below is a list of our most frequently asked questions. If you have questions that aren't listed, feel free to contact us!

  • Is TCAC a part of CASA?
    Texarkana Children's Advocacy Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit under the umbrella of Northeast Texas CASA, Inc. Our sister organization is CASA for Children.
  • What counties does the TCAC serve?
    The Texarkana Children's Advocacy Center serves Bowie, Cass and Morris counties in Texas and Miller, Little River, and Hempstead counties in Arkansas.
  • Are you a government agency?
    No, TCAC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit under the umbrella of Northeast Texas CASA, Inc.
  • Do families pay for services at the TCAC?
    No, all TCAC services are provided at no cost to children and families.
  • How are children referred to TCAC?
    Children are referred to our Center through local law enforcement and child protective services. If you suspect a child is being abused, please make a report to one of these agencies by calling 9-1-1, the Texas Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-482-5964.
  • How can I get involved at TCAC?
    Click here for more information on how you can get involved with our organization.
  • What is the goal of a forensic interview?
    The goal of a forensic interview is to gather detailed, factual information regarding allegations of abuse while reducing the number of people the child has to talk to about their experience in order to help minimize trauma.
  • Who will talk to my child?
    A trained forensic interviewer will talk to your child. Investigators who are assigned to the case will observe from a separate room through a close-circuit television.
  • Where do forensic interviews happen?
    Forensic interviews are conducted in a child-friendly room at TCAC. Each room is equipped with two cameras and a mounted microphone so that investigators can observe the live interview from a separate room through a closed circuit television.
  • What should I do to prepare my child?
    Stay calm and reassure your child that they are okay. Listen and support your child if they want to talk about it, but do not attempt to interview your child yourself. Let them know that they will be coming to talk to a trained professional about their experience.
  • What should I NOT do to prepare my child?
    Never tell your child what they should or shouldn't say during a forensic interview, and never blame your child for speaking up.
  • What happens to the video recording?
    The video recording is the property of the District Attorney's office and only the DA, assigned investigators, or other professionals involved in the case will have access to the recording.
  • Can I watch my child's interview?
    Parents and caregivers are not able to view the forensic interview. Only investigators who are assigned to the case, the District Attorney, or other professional involved in the case will be able to view the forensic interview. Investigators may meet with the parent(s)and/or caregiver(s) about the interview and what to expect next.
  • How long does the interview last?
    Every forensic interview is different. On average, a forensic interview may last about an hour. However, the actual length of the forensic interview will depend on the child's age, developmental level, specific allegations, special needs, and more.
  • What is the purpose of a medical evaluation?
    If there is a reason to believe that your child may have been sexually abused, a medical evaluation is an important step in making sure that he or she is healthy, both physically and mentally.
  • What happens during a medical evaluation?
    Medical evaluations for suspected victims of child sexual abuse can be different depending on what may have happened to your child. In most child sexual abuse medical evaluations, the nurse will usually: talk to you and your child in order to make sure you both feel comfortable, ask questions about your child’s medical history and about why your child is receiving a medical evaluation, conduct a head-to-toe physical evaluation of your child to make sure your child is healthy, conduct a visual evaluation of your child’s genital area, and determine whether your child has any injuries or illnesses that need to be cared for. In some cases, the nurse may need to: use a forensic evidence collection kit to gather evidence, take photographs of your child’s body, draw blood or take swabs of your child’s bodily fluids in order to screen for infections.
  • Will the medical evaluation hurt my child?
    The child’s well-being is the first priority in a child sexual abuse medical evaluation, and in most cases, the exam will not hurt. It some cases, however, a blood draw may be necessary to ensure that your child is healthy.
  • Is the child sexual abuse evaluation similar to a woman's pelvic exam?
    No. In medical evaluations of young children, the nurse will only conduct a visual evaluation of the child’s genital area, and nothing will be placed inside of the child.
  • Will the medical evaluation be upsetting for my child?
    In most cases, no. Doctors and nurses who conduct child abuse medical evaluations receive special training on how to conduct the evaluation in a child-sensitive manner that minimizes discomfort to the child.
  • Why does my child need a medical evaluation if the alleged abuse occurred a long time ago?
    Whether a child has been abused within the last day or if the abuse occurred weeks, months or years ago, a medical evaluation is always of benefit to the child and can often be relevant to the case. For the child, it is a matter of being reassured that their bodies are healthy and that there are no conditions that need further treatment (i.e., pregnancy, sexually-transmitted infections, injuries, etc.). It is vitally important for them to know that they are normal and that no one can tell they have been abused.
  • If the medical evaluation is normal and there are no forensic findings, does that mean my child was not abused?
    Forensic evidence is found in less than 10% of child sexual abuse cases; however, the lack of forensic evidence does not mean that abuse did not occur. Consider the fact that most pregnant teenagers and females with sexually-transmitted infections have normal examinations. Further, a child’s genital tissue heals faster than an adult’s and any forensic evidence that may have existed can disintegrate in a very short period of time. The abuse may have also been the kind that does not typically cause injury.
  • Can any medical provider conduct a sexual abuse medical evaluation?
    It is critical that medical evaluations for children who are suspected victims of child abuse be conducted by a medical professional with pediatric and child abuse experience. Our medical provider is a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) with 20 years of experience in child sexual abuse medical evaluations.
  • Can my child receive therapy?
    Our center provides evidence-supported, trauma-based therapies, so if your child is showing any symptoms of trauma, they might qualify for services. Visit our contact page to get in touch, and someone can speak with you to guide you through if our therapy is appropriate for your child.
  • What type of therapy would be provided for my child?
    Our therapists are trained in a variety of trauma-based therapies. We strive to choose a therapy modality that will best fit the needs of your child and what they are experiencing.
  • What do I have to do for my child to receive therapy?
    If therapy is offered, paperwork will be sent to you electronically by one of our therapists, and an intake appointment will be scheduled. Consistency and caregiver involvement is very important. If you are unable to bring your child to therapy, someone can speak with you about what that will look like.
  • Do you provide therapy for adults?
    When appropriate, we offer therapy services to caregivers, siblings, and adult who were victims as children. These are decided on a case-by-case basis by the clinical director.
  • Why is therapy necessary?
    Therapy is a way to express thoughts and emotions as they relate to experiences from our past that could be keeping us stuck from moving forward. Processing experiences with a professional in a safe environment can help your child move forward in a healthy and productive way. Skills can be taught to both your child and you to help them thrive and not have to continue carrying the weight of their trauma.
  • Do you charge for therapy services?
    Because we are a non-profit, all of our services are free to the families we serve.
  • I or my child received services at the TCAC in the past. Can we return for services?
    Yes, you can, depending on what you are needing. These cases are discussed with a therapist and can help you decide if we are still the best fit, or if a referral is needed.
  • We recently moved to the area and have been receiving services through another Children's Advocacy Center/Children's Safety Center. Can we receive services here?
    Yes. Children's Advocacy Centers refer to each other all the time. Visit our contact page to get in touch and someone can speak to you regarding your therapeutic needs.
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