Executive Director Kathy Pomahac
Carrie Lynn receives almost 600 referrals a year, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be abused before they are 18, the median age for reported abuse is 9 years old, over 90% of offenders are known to the child.
As the Children’s Advocacy Center serving Boone and Winnebago Counties, the mission of the Carrie Lynn Children's Center is to provide a comprehensive multi-disciplinary response to child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse allegations in a neutral, child-focused setting. The purpose is to coordinate and track the investigations, medical treatment, counseling referrals, prosecution and training in order to protect the best interests of the child victims and their families.
It is recognized that each child and family has an inherent right to be treated with dignity.
It is recognized that child abuse is a community problem. No single agency, individual or discipline has the necessary knowledge, skills or resources to provide all the assistance needed by abused children and their families.
It is recognized that the combining of all experience and professional knowledge of DCFS Investigators and follow-up workers, law enforcement officers and detectives, prosecutors and medical/mental health professionals can result in a more thorough understanding of case issues and can provide the best possible system response.
It is recognized that open communication and case coordination among agencies are critical for protecting the child and promoting justice and healing.
It is recognized that the protection and best interests of each child will be foremost in all recommendations related to investigation, prosecution, treatment referrals and follow-up.
It is recognized that “…multiple interviews by multiple interviewers have been found to be emotionally damaging to children…” (National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect).
The Children’s Advocacy Center (Carrie Lynn Children’s Center) is an intergovernmental agency designed to provide an effective countywide multi-disciplinary approach to child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse cases.
In March of 1989, Winnebago County State’s Attorney, Paul Logli, convened an ad hoc committee in March of 1989 to explore ways to ensure broader inter-agency coordination in the handling of child sexual abuse cases. The Children’s Advocacy Center resulted from the consensus of the committee that more could be done to help child victims of sexual abuse. Organizational work began, and in December of 1989, the Children’s Advocacy center Advisory Board met for the first time. A protocol was completed and filed in August of 1990.
In the interim, Governor James Thompson signed the “Children’s Advocacy Center Act” (August 24, 1989) which mandated the State’s Attorney of each count appoint an Advisory Board. The Act charges this board with the responsibility of developing a written protocol addressing the investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse cases in a way that would effectively minimize the stress created for the child victim and his/her family by the investigatory and judicial process. The Act also requires a protocol for coordinating treatment referrals for these children and their non-offending family members.
In February of 1991, the Children’s Advocacy Center began accepting cases. Since that time, services have been expanded to include serious physical abuse cases as well. This is pursuant to an amendment to the “Children’s Advocacy Center Act” which provides for such expansion.
As a result of much commitment, planning, and construction the Carrie Lynn Children’s Center opened its doors on November 3, 1997. Since that time services have been expanded to encompass Boone County cases also.