For more than a decade, law enforcement agencies and Child Protective Service units across the nation have been conducting joint investigations of reported child abuse. The impetus for this cooperation comes from state laws requiring or authorizing these agencies to notify one another of incoming reports of child abuse and to work with one another. This cooperation is designed to lessen trauma to child victims from repetitious interviews and has been proven effective in investigating these difficult cases.
In Niagara County, police, prosecutors and social service agencies have been working together informally for many years in an effort to attack the problems of child physical and sexual abuse. In 1990, a law enforcement Strike Force was created to work on child sexual abuse cases in a coordinated fashion. These efforts were augmented in 1995 by the opening of the Child Advocacy Center at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
With the passage of time and the retirement of certain key personnel, it was decided in 1996 that it was time to take another hard look at how Niagara County addresses the problems of child abuse. As a result, Niagara County’s child abuse team developed written, county-wide guidelines and renamed itself the Niagara County Child Abuse Intervention Project or CAIP (pronounced “Cape”). This accomplishment reflected the commitment and cooperation of all participating agencies. They are to be congratulated. The leadership of District Attorney Matthew J. Murphy, III, Sheriff Thomas A. Beilein, and Burt Marshall from the Niagara County Department of Social Services was invaluable.
In 2000, a CAIP Advisory Board of volunteers from participating agencies and disciplines was established. The CAIP Advisory Board represents the ongoing commitment of participating agencies to shape state-of-the-art responses to these terrible crimes. Their significant effort has resulted in the updating of these guidelines.
The Child Advocacy Center of Niagara has also initiated innovative program services to respond to child protection and family violence. These include coordination of Niagara County’s Child Fatality Review Team, the Family Violence Intervention Project – a collaboration designed to address child abuse and domestic violence, and emergency room based victim advocacy services.
© 2010 Child Advocacy Center of Niagara
Funding for this website was made available through a grant from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.