Important New Legislation Passes to Help Protect Children in Child Abuse Cases

Lori Harris with the Cherokee County Children’s Advocacy Center

(June, 2019) Montgomery – The Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers (ANCAC) recently announced that their two legislative initiatives passed overwhelmingly on the closing days of the 2019 regular legislative session. HB31 and HB79 by Representatives Reynolds, Robertson and Stringer, and Senator Givhan both achieved final passage on the final two days of the session and were subsequently signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey.

HB31 defines “forensic interview” and provides that statements made during a forensic interview by a child be admitted as evidence in dependency court proceedings. This will minimize the trauma for children who previously would have had to testify in these proceedings.

HB79 expands and updates the requirements for full membership in the Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, assuring that children and families receiving services through one of the 35 Children’s Advocacy Centers in Alabama are receiving high quality services.


The ANCAC members coordinate the multidisciplinary response to child abuse in communities throughout Alabama working in close partnership with law enforcement, Department of Human Resources, prosecutors, medical, mental health, and victim advocates. This model, started by former Congressman Bud Cramer in 1985 here in Alabama, has been replicated in more than 950 communities throughout the United States and in more than 30 countries throughout the world.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Cherokee County is a full member center of the Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers.

The Children’s Advocacy Center provides:

  • Forensic Interviewing:

The Child Advocacy Center offers safe, neutral, child-friendly environment for children who are suspected victims of child abuse to be interviewed. 

  • Child Therapy:

The Child Advocacy Center has a therapist on site for follow-up treatment after the interview takes place. The therapist will provide counseling services for the victim as long as necessary. 

  • Forensic Evaluations:

This service is provided for the Department of Human Resources as well as the District Attorney’s office. This is an extended forensic interview taking place once a week from six to ten weeks. A licensed child therapist who has completed the forensic assessment training curriculum conducts the forensic assessment. It is a structured program that has been nationally recognized.

  • Family Advocacy:

Support is offered to the non-offending caregivers in indicated child abuse cases. The family advocate serves as a liaison for the family and all involved investigating agencies. The family advocate also provides assistance in helping the family to utilize community resources. This program is limited to the non-offending caregivers who are supportive of the child victim.

  • Team Reviews:

Once a month, The Children’s Advocacy Center Case Review Team meets at the Children’s Advocacy Center here in Cherokee County to discuss the status of all ongoing child abuse cases. Members include: staff here at the CAC, case workers from the Department of Human Resources, a supervisor from DHR, the District Attorney’s office, local law enforcement officers and investigators, and a local physician. 


If you suspect a child is being neglected or abused, please call the phone numbers listed below.

  • Monday – Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm
    • Cherokee County Department of Human Resources at (256) 927-1440
  • After Hours and Weekends
    • Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office at (256) 927-3365
  • If Emergency 
    •  9-1-1


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