In the spring of 1998, child advocates and professionals in the Barren River Area met to discuss the lack of critical services for victims of child sexual abuse and their non-offending family members. They determined the region desperately needed one, very special and child friendly place that would provide on-site crisis intervention, case investigations and coordination of team members, and most importantly, services to child victims. The group formed a Board of Directors and applied for a small VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) grant later that summer, determined to develop a Child Advocacy Center to serve the region. BRACAC hired an Executive Director in December 1998 and immediately began the ambitious goal to develop a Center that would support a ten county region. With the support of city and county leaders, regional legislators and then Governor and Mrs. Paul E. Patton, BRACAC purchased a large, historical church located just blocks from the Bowling Green Police Department in the summer of 1999. BRACAC then partnered with the Warren County Fiscal Court and the Barren River Area Development District office to apply for a Community Block Development Grant (CDBG) in August 1999, receiving approval in November 1999. With access to the funds made possible in May 2000, BRACAC continued to work diligently to renovate, prepare and occupy the Center’s new home.
Meanwhile, the creation of the Kentucky Association of Children’s Advocacy Centers, the passing of critical legislation establishing Child Advocacy Centers or “CACs,” and the development of additional funding made the addition of a full time Crisis Intervention Counselor possible in April 2000. A full time therapist was added to the staff in the final stages of renovation of the Center’s facility in the winter 2000. Following a long-term recruitment effort, BRACAC teamed up with four dedicated physicians and a volunteer medical assistant in the summer of 2000 to complete specialized training in preparation for the provision of on-site specialized medical examinations for victims of child sexual abuse. Proudly, the Center celebrated its grand opening on January 12, 2001 and immediately went to work providing all core services to the children and families of the ten county region. In November 2005, the BRACAC reorganized its funding sources to allow for the development of a second Crisis Intervention Counselor to better meet the growing needs of children and families and to stay actively involved with each of the region’s ten Multidisciplinary Teams. The BRACAC also developed an Administrative Assistant and its first Forensic Interviewer position in July 2006.
In April 2011, the BRACAC celebrated its 10th Anniversary of quality service provision to children and families living in the BRADD region. More than 4,500 children have received services during that time – and more will come. In preparation, the Center was fortunate enough to receive various grants and support from local and national organizations to upgrade its entire forensic interviewing system and colposcope/medical system to some of the best digital systems in the country. Other upgrades to the Center’s services areas were also completed.
The Center now maintains a full time staff of one Executive Director (Vacant), a Coordinator of Operations & Finance and three Crisis Intervention Counselors. Its extended staff consists of two part-time Forensic Interviewers, a part-time therapist, four volunteer physicians, an RN and a host of enthusiastic volunteers to support its mission and services to the community.
Our history is strong, but our vision and commitment to positive change for the future of children in our regional community is even stronger…