Houghton-Keweenaw Advocacy Center becomes first accredited center in the UP – WLUC

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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – The Houghton-Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center (CAC) has become the first of its kind to become accredited in the U.P.

This was given to the center by the National Children’s Alliance for meeting their standards.

“The accreditation shows that we are following all the standards and that we are putting forth the best possible services for the children of our community and the families in our community,” Houghton-Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center Director Virginia Lambert said.

The center was formerly a part of DialHelp. It has been aiming for accreditation since it opened as a temporary center in 2020. It is now part of the Copper Shores Community Health Foundation Victim Support group as a fully operational center.

To earn accreditation, not only did the center have to meet these standards, but its community partners did, too.

“These are standards that are brought forth for our mental health system, our law enforcement system, and our SANE nurses, which are Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners,” Lambert continued. “We all worked together as a team, and that’s how we got the accreditation.”

The CAC assists children who are the victims of physical and/or sexual abuse. After coming forward with a disclosure to law enforcement or Child Protection Services, either group schedules an interview with the advocacy center.

“We have forensic interviewers that are just a lot more comfortable for the kids to get interviewed by,” Houghton-Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center Victims Advocate Rachel Lamppa said. “It’s not a scary atmosphere, they never see law enforcement, they only have to tell their story one time.”

An advocate works with the victim and their family through the whole process, including court proceedings. Since opening, the center has handled over 150 interviews.

“With the accreditation, with our new prosecutor in town, we do think that we will probably see a rise in cases coming to us,” Lamppa adds.

The center plans to hold a ribbon-cutting and open house sometime this month to celebrate the achievement.

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