Major ImpACT: The Center for Alexandria’s Children
Brandi Yee, Chief Program Officer
One of ACT’s first initiatives was incubating the Center for Alexandria’s Children (the Center), an accredited Child Advocacy Center and family resource center located on the West End of Alexandria. Similar to the history of ACT, the Center grew out of our community’s response to tragedy; a child homicide that drew attention to the need for cross-sector collaboration and improved outcomes for children experiencing abuse and neglect.
Deputy City Manager and founding ACT Board Member Debra Collins shared the idea of a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) with ACT as a way to centralize services to address the prevention, investigation, and treatment of child abuse. It was clear that if a multi-disciplinary team of providers came together, children could be served better. ACT played the critical role of being a backbone organization for the Center – convening key stakeholders, providing initial funding for the executive director, and helping to secure a board of directors, nonprofit status, and a location for the organization. The Center is now a nationally accredited CAC Program with expanded services to include prevention, education, and outreach programs, including a specialized Learn & PlayGroup Program™ aimed at strengthening families.
The Center for Alexandria’s Children continues to serve our city’s children through the pandemic. They are taking every precaution to keep children and families safe as they participate in programs. The CAC Program continues to operate in person serving identified child victims of abuse. The Learn & PlayGroups were held online for most of last year and our LPG families received learning together kits that could be used at home.
The Center continues to collaborate with other local nonprofits to help meet the needs of the community by providing food, gift cards, vaccine information, and hosting community events like a Trunk or Treat for a safe way to celebrate Halloween. They are offering in-person Learn & PlayGroups this fall along with two online groups for the community. ACT is honored to be part of the Center’s story – their commitment to child abuse prevention and intervention is providing hope and healing for our city’s children and their families.
For more information about the Center for Alexandria’s Children, visit www.alexandriaskids.org.