Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
FFY 2011 Annual Progress and Services Report
Children’s Advocacy Centers
Since 1987, 38 Children’s Advocacy Centers have been developed in Illinois. Five of the 38
centers are in Cook County. The other centers, some of which serve multiple counties, are
located throughout the state. The current agencies provide services to children and families in
93 out of Illinois’ 102 counties.
In FY 2010 8.2% of all indicated child abuse/neglect reports involved sexual abuse, down
just slightly from 8.5% in FY 2009. Children’s Advocacy Centers were created to meet the
special needs of children who have been sexually abused. The Children’s Advocacy Centers
are county-based programs established to coordinate the activities of various agencies
(particularly DCFS, law enforcement, State’s Attorneys, medical providers, and mental health
providers) involved in the investigation, prosecution and treatment referral of child sexual
abuse cases. In the past 5 years, all of Illinois’ Children’s Advocacy Centers have also been
authorized by state statute to assist with the investigation of child deaths and serious child
physical abuse cases including head injury, internal injuries, broken bones, burns, and bruises.
The Children’s Advocacy Centers received 8,983 referrals for sexual abuse investigation during
FY 2010. There were also 1,179 cases of serious physical abuse referred to the centers for
coordinated investigation and services, bringing the total referrals of children for FY 2010 to
10,162. Some of the centers also offer services to assist children who are victims of family
violence, severe neglect, human trafficking, and internet-based sexual exploitation.
An expansion of Children’s Advocacy Centers has occurred during FY 2011 in order to provide
services to an additional 10 counties that were not served previously. These 10 counties are
mostly rural counties located in the central and southern regions of the state. A statewide
organization of child advocacy centers, the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois, is based in
Springfield and works in partnership with the local centers to assist with policy development
and protocols, multidisciplinary team training, human resource development, accreditation
criteria, and funding. Most of the Children’s Advocacy Centers receive locally-based funds
through appropriations made by the counties or townships. The Department, other state
agencies, and national organizations supplement the local funding. Since 2008, the Illinois
Children’s Advocacy Centers have joined together to sponsor an annual Champions of Children
Walk during May to promote increased awareness of child abuse and its impact within their
There are two emergency shelters where children 0 to 18 years can be placed temporarily to
reduce the trauma of an emergency placement. The goal of the emergency shelters is to ensure
that children are safe and protected until a more permanent placement is identified.
The Emergency Resource Center located in Chicago is operational 24/7 365 days a year.
Children receive initial health screenings and their significant presenting needs are assessed and
Night’s Shield is a shelter located in the southern area of the State and is operational 24/7 365
days a year. This shelter provides a home environment, routine medical care and educational
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