Invitation to Children's Advocacy Center Professionals
Join 900 CAC Professionals in 48 states and two Indian territories who have subscribed to the "Legal Eagle" Listserv
During January 2013, an email was sent to representatives of more than 500 Children's Advocacy Centers across the country, inviting them and their dedicated CAC professionals to join the Legal Eagles Listserv for free. We had a wonderful response, with more than 75 professionals affiliated with CACs seeking to join, representing more than 20 states. These included District Attorneys, Assistant District Attorneys, therapists, forensic interviewers, child and family advocates, and assistant and executive directors of CACs. Joining together for children and their non-offending caregivers!
Andrew Agatston continues to train CACs across the U.S. If your CAC or your state network would like more information on the "Law & CACs" workshop, contact him at (770) 795-7770.
Andrew Agatston's standing invitation to CAC professionals, their MDT members, and law enforcment, prosecutors, medical personnel, child protective services professionals, and social services professionals who serve children who have alleged sexual and physical abuse:
In 2008, I was serving on the board of directors of the Children's Advocacy Centers of Georgia. The purpose of CACGA is to promote, assist, and support the development, growth and continuation of CACs in Georgia. In my review of the almost 40 CACs in Georgia at that time, I became concerned that too many of the CACs did not have reliable and competent legal representation, not just for their general needs, but for the very important needs related to CACs being brought into the legal system as third parties in criminal cases, civil cases, juvenile cases, and family court cases.
My view then, and my view now, is that very important decisions are going to be made in legal forums that are related to the long-term outlook for children who have been abused. These legal forums may be hearings, trials, plea bargains, depositions, or a combination or any or all of them. As such, CACs and their professionals must be able to respond to the legal demands placed upon them, whether those demands are for their records, their witness testimonies, or anything else.
Due to the majority of CACs not have regular and reliable legal counsel, I started the "Legal Eagle" Listserv for the Georgia CACs. This consisted of a weekly "Legal Letter" that highlighted a Georgia case that had reached the Georgia Court of Appeals or the Georgia Supreme Court. These reviewed and researched cases that I summarized all involved child molestation, or other abuse or neglect, and importantly involved facts and issues that directly impacted CAC professionals, or their MDT members, such as law enforcement, CPS, counselors, medical personnel, and volunteers.
That was in 2008. And then the Legal Eagle Listserv took flight. It was passed around to CACs in other states. When I trained and presented at conferences, seminars and workshops around the U.S., I offered all attendees who were affiliated in some way with a local Children's Advocacy Center to join for free.
Today, the Legal Eagle Listserv subscribers include 650 dedicated CAC professionals and their multidisciplinary team members in 45 states who serve children and their communities. There are CAC professionals, detectives, prosecutors, doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, psychologists, CPS professionals, counselors in private practice, and even a law professor or two on the List. It is also read in Indian Territory, in Washington State and Oklahoma. Over the years, three books have been published using compilations of the Legal Letters. The first, The Legal Eagles Guide to Children's Advocacy Centers: A Lawyer's Guide to Soaring in the Courtroom was published in 2009. The second book, The Legal Eagles Guide to Children's Advocacy Centers, Part II: Soaring Confidently in the Courtroom , was published in 2010. A third, published in July 2012, is titled, The Legal Eagles Guide to Children's Advocacy Centers, Part III: Soaring for Advocacy and Justice.
My invitation to you is based upon this theory, that was written in the foreward of the second book.
"I have been amazed by the thirst for legal knowledge that those on the listsev have shown during the past years that I have been sending out the Legal Letter. Amazed, but not surprised. Those involved in assisting children who allege sexual and physial abuse are a dedicated bunch. They are dedicated to the big picture issues, sure, but their dedication can be seen in the smallest of details -- the types of games, and stuffed animals, and Crayons, and snacks for children are offered when they arrive in the Advocacy Centers. Actually, for CAC professionals, those small details don't look so small after all. It's all about providing a safe place to children who have been sexually and physically abused, in a child-friendly environment.
"So it comes as no surprise that you Legal Eagles want to know information and details contained in the legal rules and legal cases that affect CACs, both inside and outside of the courtroom. And importantly, the goal for the Legal List listserv and this book is to provide those who dedicate their professional lives to abused children an advanced understanding of the legal issues that surround them. The stakes are so high in matters involving litigation. It is the only chance for legal justice. CAC Legal Eagles are those who are fully prepared and equipped to soar in the courtroom, just as they soar for the children they serve day in and day out. I hope this book is helpful for you."
And I hope that you will consider joining this humble project. If you are a professional in a CAC, or affiliated with one, it is still offered for you for free, because you do so much for those in such need. Keep up the great work, and keep the faith!
Interested? Call 1 770-795-7770 or email me at [email protected]. Just let me know your name, affiliated CAC, and say, "Sign me up!"