In 1985, Congressman Robert E. “Bud” Cramer (AL), who was then a District Attorney in Madison Co. AL, organized an effort to create a better system to help abused children. He was frustrated as a prosecutor, because he was having difficulty prosecuting child abuse cases and getting guilty verdicts or pleas for offenders of crimes against children. He noticed the social service and the criminal justice systems were not working together in an effective manner. This often added to children’s emotional distress, and created a segmented, repetitious, and often frightening experience for the child victims. He pulled together law enforcement, criminal justice, child protective services, medical and mental health workers into one coordinated team that would serve child victims of crime in a respectful way. In an effort to improve this process, the first Child Advocacy Center was established in 1985 in Huntsville, Alabama.
In 1994, the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center opened its doors in Dothan after Houston/Henry County District Attorney Douglas A. Valesksa, along with community members and officials, joined together to vastly improve investigations into the cases involving the sexual abuse of children. Today, the CAC has grown to provide services for Houston, Henry, Dale, and Geneva Counties. We work with a Multidisciplinary Team, which includes law enforcement, Department of Human Resources and District Attorneys’ offices for all four counties we serve. The Southeast Alabama CAC is a non-profit 501(c) (3) agency and relies on private and public grants, donations and fundraisers to provide its services to children and their non-offending family members.