Sylvia’s CAC embarked on ambitious internal process in 2021 to pursue accreditation by the National Children’s Alliance.
The accreditation means the Center meets or exceeds ten standards established by more than seventy child abuse intervention professionals. To receive accreditation, Sylvia’s CAC team members worked together with consultant Toby Stark and Indiana Chapter Director Jan Lutz to document, update, refine, or implement minimum standards for equity and access, forensic interviews, victim support, medical and mental health access, documentation, and overall child safety. A full list of the standards is available from the NCA (PDF).
Sylvia’s CAC was already doing many of the things NCA accreditation requires, such as offering referrals for mental health services and best practices for Victim Advocacy services and forensic interviews. But other parts of the accreditation process required a wholesale refresh of our structure.
“The biggest change for us was our [county] Prosecutor was always appointed the President of our board,” says Sylvia’s CAC Executive Director Kassie Frazier. This setup dates to the organization’s founding under the authority of the Boone County Prosecutor’s Office before switching to an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. “Since that time, a lot of the bylaws, seats, and board appointments have led up to the prosecutor’s office.”
Now, the board president is elected and the vice-president assumes the role of presidency after a term. Other changes included bylaws stipulating board members are required to recruit other new members and replacements, a task that lifts the burden—and conflicts of interest—from the Executive Director.
“We also did a matrix where we were short and a lot of it was representation in diversity, age, race, and gender,” says Frazier. She notes Sylvia’s CAC is unique because victims of past abuse or trauma currently serve on the board. In addition, “Boone County is uniquely diversified between affluent suburban communities and rural farm communities. So we’re making sure everyone has representation on this board.”