Since 2002, Shining Star Children's Advocacy Center has been providing services for child abuse victims and their families. Our mission is to transform victims of child abuse into survivors. Our vision is to reduce the trauma of child abuse through identification, offender accountability, advocacy, counseling, and education on the path to eliminating child abuse. The purpose of our program is to provide forensic interviewing, case management and follow-through, and coordinated services to child victims of sexual and physical abuse and their non-offending family members in Lee and Ogle Counties. Additionally, we seek to minimize the trauma experienced by child victims by providing a comfortable and child-friendly environment for the interview and investigations of child abuse crimes. We have conducted over 1,550 forensic interviews since we opened our doors in 2002. We advocated for the best interest of the child victim and help educate the community on child abuse issues. Shining Star Children's Advocacy Center is an integral part of facilitating the coordination of a multidisciplinary team consisting of professionals from Lee and Ogle County law enforcement, State's Attorneys, the Department of Children and Family Services, and mental and medical health providers. The collaboration that takes place among these agencies provides an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise pertaining to issues surrounding investigations and the needs of children and their non-offending family members.
In 2012, Shining Star CAC created a new initiative to increase and improve services to victims of child sexual abuse. Survivors Support Camp was formed; of which, junior high and high school aged girls, who had been victims of child sexual abuse, were provided with an opportunity to come together and receive additional therapeutic and advocacy services. During the week long camp, attendees were provided opportunities to share their experience in a supportive setting as well receive therapy services focused on relationship building, self-esteem, empowerment, coping skills, and stress relief. The success of this camp has forged additional services, to include a permanent survivors group therapy program. The children who attend and continue to participate in the group therapy services share a strong bond with one another, and report feeling more supported, connected and empowered than before.
In 2018, Shining Star CAC developed a Counselor's position within the organization and has been fortunate to offer new and expanded mental health services. Shining Star CAC provides evidence-based trauma focused counseling services designed to meet the unique needs of child victims of abuse and their non-offending family members. The services include but are not limited to: crisis intervention, trauma-specific assessments, use of standardized measures such as assessment tools initially and periodically throughout treatment, individualized treatment plans which are re-assessed periodically, individual evidence-informed treatment appropriate for the children and family seen, referral to other community services as needed, and clinical supervision. In addition, we have developed a parent support group for non-offending family members and care-givers of child abuse victims. The parent support group allows a safe and supportive environment for caregivers of child abuse victims in which they too can share their experience, as well as develop their own coping skills to better help their children manage the trauma they have undergone.
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