Children's advocacy/protection centers (CAC/CPC) provide a comfortable, private, child-friendly setting that is both physically and psychologically safe for diverse populations of children and their families who are victims of suspected abuse and neglect. The centers offer a new way of serving abused children through a comprehensive approach to services. A team of specialists at the center's work together in the investigation, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse cases. The goal of the child advocacy/protection centers is to ensure that children are not re-victimized by the very system designed to protect them.
Since 2004 Iowa legislators have appropriated state funds for the purpose of establishing new or support existing CPC's that meet, or are in the process of implementing, standards established by the National Children's Alliance (NCA). NCA is a nationwide not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to promote and support communities in providing a coordinated investigation and comprehensive response to victims of severe child abuse.
Through an application process and legislation, five Child Protection Centers in Iowa have been awarded grants to assist in supporting existing services within the centers. The five centers awarded grants are as follows:
- St Luke's Child Protection Center located in Cedar Rapids, serving counties in the east central and southern portion of Iowa.
- Mercy Child Advocacy Center located in Sioux City, serving counties in the northwest corner of Iowa.
- Blank Children's Hospital Regional Child Protection Center located in Des Moines, serving counties in central and south central Iowa.
- Mississippi Valley Child Protection Center located in Muscatine, serving counties in southeastern Iowa.
- Allen Child Protection Center,located in Waterloo, serving counties in Northeast Iowa