Children’s Justice Centers Make a Difference
While Utah refers to its centers as Children’s Justice Centers, Utah’s model is based on that of a Children’s Advocacy Center. Both Children’s Justice Centers and Children’s Advocacy Centers are accredited by the National Children’s Alliance using the same set of standards.
In 2006, researchers at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire released findings from the five-year multi-site national evaluation of the Children’s Advocacy Center model. Data from over 1000 cases of sexual abuse handled by communities with and without a Children’s Advocacy Center were collected and subject to comparative analysis.
In Utah: Currently, 23 Children’s Justice Centers serve 28 counties across the state.
6,200 cases are handled annually.
15,000 people are served annually.
Centers Save Money
A recent national cost-benefit analysis of the Children’s Advocacy Center model shows that, on a per-case basis, traditional investigations were 36% more expensive than a Children’s Advocacy Center investigation. The cost of a Children’s Advocacy Center investigation averaged $2,902 compared to $3,949 for a traditional abuse investigation, saving approximately $1,000 per case in services to children and families during the course of a child abuse investigation.
- Children’s Advocacy Centers showed significantly more evidence of coordinated investigations.
- Children involved with a Children’s Advocacy Center were more likely to receive a specialized medical evaluation.
- Referrals to mental health services were offered to children involved in a Children’s Advocacy Center.
- Parents and caregivers of children served by the Children’s Advocacy Center were more satisfied with the investigation (than those in a comparison sample).