Franklin-Williamson "CAC"

Issue #2: December 2018 Newsletter


HaPpY HoLiDaYs everyone, this is Hilary Drone with the Franklin-Williamson Child Advocacy Center, AKA the "CAC ". This time in the newsletter you will find out about ways to help the CAC, things we at the CAC are thankful for, fundraiser updates, and learn about forensic interviews. We hope you enjoy reading a little update from us!

For the latest news and information, "Like" our Facebook page and follow us at:

What is a Forensic Interview:

The Franklin-Williamson Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is a child-friendly, safe, and neutral location where law enforcement and DCFS investigators observe forensic interviews being conducted by CAC staff with children who are alleged victims of sexual and physical abuse crimes or who are witnesses to a violent crime.

A forensic interview is a developmentally appropriate, non-leading, fact finding interaction conducted with child by a specially trained forensic interviewer using a multidisciplinary approach in response to allegations of alleged maltreatment. The purpose of these interviews is to obtain information from a child that may be helpful in a criminal investigation, to assess the safety of the child’s living arrangements, to obtain information that will either corroborate or refute allegations or suspicions of abuse and neglect and to assess the need for medical treatment and counseling services.

So, in other words, the forensic interviewer talks with children about things that may or may not have happened to them in a way that the children can understand and tell about. Forensic interviewers must complete a nationally recognized, research based training that focuses on child development, the dynamics of abuse, the process of disclosure and question formulation. The CAC has two specially trained forensic interviewers on staff who are available to team members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This year calendar year, the two interviewers have conducted 159 interviews with children of alleged abuse from Williamson and Franklin counties.

When the CAC receives a referral from DCFS or Law Enforcement, we then wait to get a phone call about whether or not a forensic interview is needed. On the day of the interview, DCFS and Law Enforcement arrive at the CAC and discuss the case with the interviewer and the assigned Child Advocate. Once the family arrives at the CAC, the Child Advocate walks them through what their time at the CAC will look like and answers any questions or concerns they may have about the interview process. The interviewer also spends a few minutes with the family to introduce themselves and meet the child victim. The Child Advocate remains with the family to gather information and complete the necessary paperwork while their child is being interviewed.

During the forensic interview, the interviewer and child go into a separate room equipped with closed circuit monitoring and the interview begins. DCFS and Law Enforcement investigators are able to view the interview live from the observation room via the video camera and tv. Once the interviewer has finished the interview, the Child Advocate, DCFS investigator, Law Enforcement, and the child's parent/guardian all meet together and discuss what is next with the case.

All of our forensic interviews are recorded, released to law enforcement and become evidence in the investigation. Because most acts of abuse are not witnessed or confessed to by the alleged offender, the victim’s statement is critical evidence in child abuse cases. Children’s varying abilities to recall events and use language, as well as the trauma they may have experienced, complicate efforts to obtain information about the abuse. The forensic interview is designed to overcome these obstacles and reduce the potential for additional trauma during the investigative process. The CAC provides the trained staff and child friendly environment to best serve children and families in their time of crisis.

How to Help:

Here at the CAC we are always in need of donations, whether that be a monetary donation, a donation of time to be a board member, a donation of talents, or a donation of snacks!

We provide snacks for all of the children who come to our office for counseling as well as snacks for children after they complete their forensic interview. Juice boxes, individual bags of snacks, granola bars, mini bottles of water, and fruit snacks are always very appreciated.

If you are handy with tools we could use your talents as well. We always have a "honey-do" list of projects that we hope to get completed and could use your time and talents to do so!

Please consider the CAC when you think about your end of the year contributions. Your money would be so very appreciated and would be used to help better serve the families in our area.


This holiday season we want to say how thankful we are for all the people who we work with throughout the year. A huge thank you to DCFS investigators and supervisors, Law Enforcement, States Attorneys and Assistant States Attorneys, Children's Medical and Mental Health Network, various mental health agencies and providers, and our board. We are so thankful for all of you and the hard work you all do throughout the year for the families in our area. Thank you for being a part of our CAC family, you are so appreciated!

We asked each of our staff members something that they are thankful for this holiday season:

Katrina Evers: "I am thankful for my wonderful husband, my friends, my coworkers, and my dog"

Pamela Bible: "I am thankful for my grandson, Rome"

Misty Lattuada: "I am thankful for my family"

Leah Brown: "I am thankful for my family who loves me despite my flaws, my work family who continues to fight the good fight, my good health that allows me to keep doing the work that matters, and some days, I am just thankful for a good movie that allows me to turn off my brain and get lost in a tub of buttery popcorn when the going gets tough!"

Hilary Drone: "I am thankful for my fiance, my awesome family, my dog, and my new home"

Fundraiser Updates:

One Last Thing:

We look forward to continuing our quarterly newsletters in 2019 and are excited to see what 2019 has in store for us at the FWCAC!

We hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Big picture