5:090-AP1 Coordination with Children’s Advocacy Center
Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) are child-focused, trauma-informed, facility-based programs that provide a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive response to child abuse. Illinois CACs are organized and operate under the Children’s Advocacy Center Act. 55 ILCS 80/. CACs are accredited based on standards set by the National Children’s Alliance. 55 ILCS 80/2.5. See www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/.
If the District is located within a county that is served by an accredited CAC, it must coordinate with the CAC to implement the Alleged Incidents of Sexual Abuse; Investigations subhead of Board policy 5:090, Abused and Neglected Child Reporting. 105 ILCS 5/22-85. For a map of accredited CACs, and to identify a CAC that may serve the District, see www.childrensadvocacycentersofillinois.org/about/map. Use this procedure to coordinate with the District’s local CAC.
Glossary of Terms
Alleged incident of sexual abuse – An incident of sexual abuse of a child (as defined in the Ill. Criminal Code of 2012, 720 ILCS 5/11-9.1A) that is alleged to have been perpetrated by school personnel, including a school vendor or volunteer, that occurred either: on school grounds during a school activity, outside of school grounds, or not during a school activity. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(b).
Alleged victim – A student who is alleged to be the victim of an alleged incident of sexual abuse.
Appropriate law enforcement agency – A law enforcement agency whose employees have been involved, in some capacity, with an investigation of a particular alleged incident of sexual abuse. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(b).
Child advocate – May be a school social worker, a school or equally-qualified psychologist, or a person in a position the Ill. State Board of Education (ISBE) has identified as an appropriate advocate for a student during a school’s investigation into an alleged incident of sexual abuse. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(i).
Forensic interview – An interview between a trained forensic interviewer, as defined by National Children’s Alliance standards, and a child in which the interviewer obtains information from children in an unbiased and fact finding manner that is developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive to support accurate and fair decision making by the multidisciplinary team in the criminal justice and child protection systems. 55 ILCS 80/2.5.
School personnel – School employees, vendors, and volunteers.
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault – See Ill. Criminal Code of 2012 definitions at:
720 ILCS 5/11-9.1A. Permitting sexual abuse of a child.
720 ILCS 5/11-1.20. Criminal sexual assault.
720 ILCS 5/11-1.30. Aggravated criminal sexual assault.
720 ILCS 5/11-1.40. Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child.
720 ILCS 5/11-1.50. Criminal sexual abuse.
720 ILCS 5/11-1.60. Aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Coordination with CAC
|ISBE||Identifies persons in positions who may be appropriate child advocates for students during a school’s investigation into an alleged incident of sexual abuse. As of March 2023, ISBE has not identified any persons.|
|Superintendent or designee||Establishes a CAC Communication Committee (Committee) to operate as a Superintendent committee. See 2:150-AP1, Superintendent Committees. Consider including:
District Safety Coordinator (see 4:170-AP1, Comprehensive Safety and Security Plan, Part C, District Safety Coordinator and Safety Team; Responsibilities)
Building Principals (Building Principals are mandatory for successful implementation of the Alleged Incidents of Sexual Abuse; Investigations subhead of policy 5:090, Abused and Neglected Child Reporting)
Employees from the accredited CAC that serves the District
Chairs and convenes Committee meetings for the purpose of implementing the Alleged Incidents of Sexual Abuse; Investigations subhead of policy 5:090, Abused and Neglected Child Reporting.
Note: To achieve the minimum requirement of State law that the District coordinate with its local CAC, this procedure establishes an administrative committee. Establishing a committee provides a best practice for aligning with governance principles and examining implementation issues specific to each individual school district and the CACs that serve each district. While smaller school districts, e.g., one-building districts, may be able to implement a program through one meeting, larger school districts will likely require the uniform coordination this Committee provides.
Informs the School Board of the Committee’s progress and needs by adding information items to the Board’s agendas as needed.
Ensures that at least every two years, school personnel are trained to understand, provide information and referrals to, and address issues pertaining to students who are parents, expectant parents, or victims of domestic or sexual violence. Note: 105 ILCS 5/10-22.39(d) requires this training to be conducted by persons with expertise in domestic and sexual violence and the needs of expectant and parenting students and must include training concerning each of the following:
|School Personnel||Upon suspecting or receiving knowledge of an alleged incident of sexual abuse, shall perform each of the following (105 ILCS 5/22-85(c):
The name and address of the child, his or her parents/guardians, or other persons having custody;
The child’s age;
The child’s condition, including any evidence of previous injuries or disabilities; and
Any other information that the reporter believes may be helpful to DCFS for its investigation.
3. Promptly notify the Superintendent or Building Principal that a report has been made.
|Superintendent or Building Principal||Immediately coordinates any necessary notifications to the student’s parents/guardians with DCFS, the applicable school resource officer (SRO), and/or local law enforcement.
Notifies the District’s Nondiscrimination Coordinator of the reported alleged incident of sexual abuse.
|DCFS and/or Appropriate Law Enforcement Agency||Determines whether to accept a reported alleged incident of sexual abuse for investigation. If a reported alleged incident is accepted, refers the matter to the CAC serving the District. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(d).
Note: If neither DCFS nor law enforcement investigate the alleged incident of sexual abuse, the District can move forward with its own investigation without CAC involvement.
|CAC||Coordinates the investigation of the alleged incident of sexual abuse in accordance with its existing multidisciplinary team protocol and National Children’s Alliance accreditation standards. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(e)(1).
Facilitates communication between the DCFS/law enforcement multidisciplinary team investigating the alleged incident of sexual abuse and the District’s Nondiscrimination Coordinator. At a minimum:
|Nondiscrimination Coordinator||Upon being notified of the reported alleged incident of sexual abuse by the Superintendent or Building Principal, shall:
Open and conduct the District’s investigation into the alleged incident of sexual abuse in accordance with policy 7:020, Harassment of Students Prohibited.
Schedule regular follow-up calls to the CAC to inquire whether DCFS/law enforcement has opened an investigation into the alleged incident of sexual abuse.
If DCFS/law enforcement investigation is not opened, stops using this procedure and continues the District’s investigation in accordance with policy 7:020, Harassment of Students Prohibited.
If DCFS/law enforcement investigation is opened, continues with the following steps.
Notes the date DCFS/law enforcement opened its investigation and sets a reminder for 15 calendar days after it.
Note: This time period is important because the CAC has 15 calendar days to conduct a forensic interview of the alleged victim. During this time, the District is cannot interview the alleged victim regarding the alleged incident.
While the child abuse and/or criminal investigations related to the alleged incident of sexual abuse are being conducted by DCFS/law enforcement, the Nondiscrimination Coordinator:
Continues the District’s investigation, which may include interviewing the alleged witnesses and/or the alleged perpetrator.
May request information from the alleged victim or his or her parent/guardian to ensure his or her safety and well-being at school during the investigations. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(f).
Refrains from interviewing the alleged victim until after the CAC completes its forensic interview. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(f).
Upon request, must inform DCFS/law enforcement investigators of any evidence it has gathered, as permitted by federal or State law. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(f)..
Note: Evidence gathered by the Nondiscrimination Coordinator during the District’s investigation may be confidential under the Illinois School Student Records Act (105 ILCS 10/) and the Family Rights and Educational Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. §1232g). Consult the Board Attorney regarding what disclosures, if any, are allowed in response to a request from DCFS and/or law enforcement and conditions that must be met prior to disclosure.
Schedule regular follow-up calls with the CAC to inquire about the status of the forensic interview of the alleged victim.
|CAC||Informs the Nondiscrimination Coordinator that:
1. The forensic interview of the alleged victim is complete, and the electronic recording of the forensic interview may be viewed; or
2. The CAC determined a forensic interview will not be conducted. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(g), (h).
|Nondiscrimination Coordinator||If the electronic recording of the forensic interview of the alleged victim is available for viewing:
Note: Each CAC may have its own consent form. Contact your local CAC to confirm that it will obtain written consent from the alleged victim over the age of 13 or the alleged victim’s parent/guardian (if under the age of 13).
If the CAC has not performed a forensic interview of the alleged victim within 15 calendar days after DCFS/law enforcement opens an investigation, notifies the CAC that the District intends to interview the alleged victim.
|CAC||After receiving notification that the District intends to interview the alleged victim, has 10 additional calendar days to conduct a forensic interview. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(g) (final citation pending).|
|Nondiscrimination Coordinator||If the CAC does not conduct a forensic interview of the alleged victim within the 10 additional calendar days, proceeds with the District’s interview of the alleged victim. Id.
If the alleged victim is under 18 years old, makes a child advocate available to the alleged victim and allows the child advocate to be present during the interview. A child advocate may be a school social worker, a school or equally qualified psychologist, or a person in a position that ISBE has identified as an appropriate advocate for a student during a school’s investigation into an alleged incident of sexual abuse. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(i).
Schedules regular follow-up calls to DCFS/law enforcement to inquire if the investigation of an incident has been suspended and/or is complete, including the outcome of the investigation. 105 ILCS 5/22-85(j), (k).
Date Adopted: September 22, 2020
Date Amended: June 20, 2023