SILVER2022

FRIENDS OF THE WILL COUNTY CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER

Providing hope, healing & justice for abused children.

aka Will County Children's Advocacy Center   |   Joliet, IL   |  www.willcountycac.org

Mission

The Will County Children's Advocacy Center is a child-focused, coordinated response center providing hope, healing and justice for children, ages 3-17, who have endured sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, sexual exploitation, child pornography, neglect, and exposure to violence. Multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) comprised of law enforcement, DCFS investigators, medical personnel, prosecutors, and Will County CAC forensic interviewers, family advocates, and trauma therapists provide trauma-informed forensic interviews, family advocacy, and mental health services.

Notes from the nonprofit

The only agency of its kind in Will County, the Will County Children's Advocacy Center provides hope, healing and justice for children (and non-offending family members) who have endured physical and sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, child pornography, neglect, and exposure to violence. Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow established the Will County CAC in 1995. Distinct disciplines work together as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) in our child-friendly facility to provide: Forensic Interviews • Family Advocacy • Trauma Therapy • Medical Exams • Child Pornography & Exploitation Victim Services • Paws-4-Kids Comfort Dogs As a hybrid 501(c)(3) non-profit/government organization, we rely on private and public grants, donations from empathetic and generous individuals and corporations, and our popular MEN WHO COOK fundraiser to carry out our life-changing mission for vulnerable children.

Ruling year info

1999

Executive Director

Ms. Lisa Morel Morel Las, M.Ed.

Main address

304 N. Scott Street

Joliet, IL 60432 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

36-4289490

NTEE code info

Victims' Services (P62)

Child Abuse, Prevention of (I72)

Other Mental Health, Crisis Intervention N.E.C. (F99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Will County Children’s Advocacy Center was established by Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow in 1995 to vastly improve investigations into cases involving the sexual abuse of children. Glasgow established the Will County CAC as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization so that it would not impact Will County taxpayers. As a result, the Will County CAC relies on private and public grants, donations, and fundraisers like the popular Men Who Cook to provide its important services. When children make an outcry of sexual abuse, a trained and compassionate interviewer obtains an accurate statement in a neutral, non-suggestive, and child-friendly environment. Forensic interviews recorded at the Will County CAC have been used in the successful prosecution of hundreds of child predators. In addition, the Will County CAC's experienced staff provides children and families with advocacy services and trauma-informed therapy, to enable the healing process to begin.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Child FORENSIC INTERVIEW Services

Forensic Interview Services: provides children with a safe place to share their story, in their own words, to experts who will listen to them, protect them and help them heal.

Our forensic interviewers are specially-trained to ask child victims a series of unbiased, non-leading questions to elicit information about the abuse in an age- and developmentally-appropriate manner.

During the interview, the child and the interviewer meet one-on-one. The multi-disciplinary team members (law enforcement, DCFS, mental health and prosecutor) observe the interview through a sophisticated video system, so they can collect evidence for their investigations.

Before the Will County CAC existed, children relived the trauma of abuse repeatedly by having to detail the abuse to police, medical professionals, child protection specialists and others separately.

The forensic interview minimizes trauma by ensuring that the child is able to provide the account in their own words and only has to detail the abuse to one adult. Interviews are recorded to preserve evidence for prosecution. Additionally, our forensic interviewers may testify in court to give a voice to child victims who are unable to participate in the court, either due to their age or reluctance to face their abuser.

The forensic interview services provided by the Will County CAC are unduplicated in the entire Will County area. We coordinate all child forensic interviews referred by 37 law enforcement jurisdictions in Will County, as well as the local Illinois DCFS offices in Will County.

We also provide forensic interviews upon request for the Illinois State Police and the FBI.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Victims and oppressed people

Trauma-Focused Family Advocates work with the children and families to minimize the psychological and emotional consequences of the abuse by: 1.) providing education about the investigation/legal process, 2.) conducting a family-needs screening with each family, 3.) providing emotional support and crisis counseling, 4.) educating on mental health services, and 5.) referring to other needed services in the community.

During their visit to the CAC, advocates provide a developmentally-appropriate environment for our clients and their siblings. They encourage child-directed play and activities of their choice. This provides for a fun, safe and supportive setting, so children can feel at ease during their appointments.

The advocates also facilitate our Paws for Kids program to further nurture and support families via canine companionship with therapy dog, Jackson and facility dog, Kiwi.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Victims and oppressed people

Children who have been victimized and traumatized receive immediate interventions to begin to heal, stop the abuse, restore dignity and normalcy to the child and family and mitigate the long-term adverse impacts of the trauma. Therapists utilize the treatment modality of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), an evidenced-based practice that is proven to be effective and sanctioned by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

** INDIVIDUAL THERAPY: Because each child responds to trauma differently, individual therapy services begin by therapists working collaboratively with children and non-offending caregivers in order to identify specific trauma-related symptoms, which may include nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, dissociation, hypervigilance, self-blame, aggression, low self-esteem, hyperactivity, &/or depression. This collaborative effort continues throughout the course of treatment, as our therapists work to establish and maintain a healthy, trusting relationship with children and families. During weekly therapy sessions, therapists work alongside children and non-offending caregivers while they overcome the trauma of abuse, build a positive self-image, learn healthy coping & emotional regulation skills, and establish healthy relationships with members of their support system.

**SUPPORT GROUPS: Aside from individual therapy services, our mental health professionals facilitate weekly support groups for children, teens, and caregivers.

1.) Children’s Groups - For children (ages of 3-12) who have been directly or indirectly impacted by physical abuse, sexual abuse, or domestic violence. This group uses art and play therapy activities to increase understanding of healthy boundaries and safety, improve self-esteem and emotional management skills.
2.) Teen Group - For youth (ages 13-18) who are learning how to manage and cope with physical abuse, sexual abuse, or other personal challenges &/or trauma. This group provides a supportive peer environment that can help foster increased self-esteem and the development of healthy peer-based relationships.
3.) Bilingual Parent Informational Sessions & Support Groups - For non-offending parents/caregivers of children who have been impacted by abuse. Provides normalization experiences, parenting skills, and support, in a caring environment to begin the healing process and support your child through their healing.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Families

Paws-4-Kids is a pet therapy program designed to comfort abused children who visit the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center. When children and their families arrive at the CAC, they have the opportunity of being greeted by one of two dogs now currently functioning in the program.

Studies have shown that these gentle therapy dogs ease and comfort children, and the children, in turn, provide a more thorough and detailed description of the traumatic events that necessitated their interview.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Victims and oppressed people

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The only agency of its kind in Will County, the Will County Children's Advocacy Center provides hope, healing and justice for children (and non-offending family members) who have endured physical and sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, child pornography, neglect, and exposure to violence.

Distinct disciplines work together as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) in our child-friendly facility to provide: Forensic Interviews • Family Advocacy • Trauma Therapy • Medical Exams • Child Pornography & Exploitation Victim Services • Paws-4-Kids Comfort Dog Program

Multidisciplinary Teams (MDT) consisting of prosecutors, law enforcement, DCFS, forensic interviewers, victim advocates, medical professionals, and mental health professionals, are the foundation of the Will County Children's Advocacy Center's response to allegations of child abuse. The MDT members collaborate from the point of a report of abuse, throughout a child and family’s involvement with the CAC.

Rooted in the Will County community as a provider since 1995, we provide an unduplicated services for child sex abuse victims from 24 townships, 36 law enforcement agencies, and 40 villages and cities. All law enforcement agencies in Will County have signed a cooperative protocol agreement with the Will County CAC. Current staffing structure includes an Executive Director, Operations Manager, Senior Forensic Interviewer, Forensic Interviewer, Senior Family Advocate, Bilingual Family Advocate, Child Sexual Exploitation Advocate/ Outreach Coordinator, three Trauma-Focused Mental Health Counselors and a Clinical Supervisor who provides formal clinical supervision to agency social workers/therapists and social work interns. The Executive Director directs the day-to-day operations and provides strategic leadership by working with the Board of Directors to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies.

The Will County CAC has not only expanded the number of children and non-offending family members served, we have also enriched the quality of our services in the following ways: Hired a bilingual forensic interviewer to provide developmentally and culturally appropriate and legally defensible forensic interviews • Hired bilingual family advocate who works on behalf of the children and families, including our Spanish speaking clients, who come to the CAC in order to minimize the psychological and emotional consequences of commercial child sexual exploitation • Hired three full-time mental health counselors who not only provide trauma-focused, evidence-supported, mental health treatment, but also reflect the cultural diversity of our clients • Hosted two county-wide child sexual exploitation & trafficking seminars • Hired an intake/MDT coordinator who provides a consistent and effective “point of contact” for all agencies and families.

Financials

FRIENDS OF THE WILL COUNTY CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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FRIENDS OF THE WILL COUNTY CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER

Board of directors
as of 07/19/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

State's Attorney James Glasgow

County of Will

Mike Kelley

Sheriff, County of Will

Brian Benton

Chief, Joliet Police Department

Dave Thornton

Carey & Thornton Financial Services

Rita Gray

Director, Behavioral Health Clinical Director - Will County Health Department

Michael Ferguson

Area Administrator, Illinois Department of Children & Family Services

Rich Wilk

Commander, Illinois State Police, Dist. 5

Duffy Blackburn

Auditor, County of Will

Herb Brooks Jr.

Will County Board Member, Dist. 8

Ann Dralle

Retired, Will County Board Member

Michael Fricilone

Will County Board Member, Dist. 7

Jim Holland

Mayor, Village of Frankfort

Rick Smith

Adult Probation Supervisor, Will County Adult Probation

Alan Nowacki

Owner, Nowacki Insurance

Scott Slocum

Program Director/Broadcaster - WJOL Radio

Dennis Wolff

Sales Director, Hawk Chevrolet

Missey Schumacher

Mayor, Village of Channahon

Ruth A. Colby

CEO, Silver Cross Hospital

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes