How to Prepare for the Initial Appointment
If your child or a child in your care has been scheduled for an appointment at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Portage County (CAC), it is important to let your child/teen know about the CAC appointment. Assure them they will have a safe place to tell the truth with a caring nurse and advocate. Try not to question your child/teen or discuss details that may be traumatic. Some helpful things to say are: I am here for you, I love you, and I believe you.
Here is some additional information to help you in the time before your appointment and prepare you for the appointment. Before your appointment, please feel free to call the CAC with any additional questions, concerns, or if you are in need of support at 330-297-8838.
What to Expect at the Appointment
The length of time for an appointment is between 2-3 hours. The CAC nurse practitioner will talk with your child/teen in a consultation room. The CAC nurse practitioner has special forensic interviewer training to work with children/teens. A trained CAC advocate will talk with caregivers and the child to provide support, help answer questions, and help with any concerns.
The CAC nurse practitioner will explain the option for a physical exam and/or lab testing with your child/teen. The physical exam is not an internal exam. If they are not comfortable with any part of the physical exam, they have the right to refuse the exam. Your child/teen can consent to one part of the exam and not another part — nothing is forced upon a child/teen at the CAC. The CAC nurse practitioner will meet with caregivers or parents to gather medical information, answer questions, and discuss next steps.
Address any Final Questions with Your Advocate
Your advocate will also provide information on what to expect after the CAC appointment and will be your support throughout the entire process. You will be given a resource and referral folder with helpful information to take home.
Finally, the nurse practitioner, advocates, and family will meet together to ensure everyone is aware of next steps, follow-up information, and any final questions. The family then has an opportunity to complete a survey regarding CAC services.
If you are new to the Children’s Advocacy Center, we’ll have you complete an intake form with us. We will follow up with an appointment time and date.
On the day of your appointment, you can find our office within the University Hospitals Portage Medical Center at 6847 North Chestnut Street in Ravenna. Please enter through the main lobby doors and let the lobby desk staff know you are here for an appointment with the Children’s Advocacy Center.