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Children's Advocacy Center

Offering light in the darkness




REPORT BY PHONE: 1-877-237-0004


Our Story


The  10th Judicial District Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) was born from the local community’s recognition of the need to assist children and families victimized by child sex abuse. Recognition of this need mobilized many individuals in the community to support the creation of a CAC, which was established in the year 2000 as an extension of the already growing Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program.


This initial Children’s Advocacy Center of the 10th Judicial District broke ground in Athens, Tn of McMinn County, and provided services for children who were victims of child sex abuse and severe physical Abuse.   In March 2010 the decision was made to further extend this program with an agency in Cleveland, TN. This development made agency contact much more convenient for a large number clients in the Bradley County area.


Today, cases are divided between the two offices depending on which county the allegation was made in. The Athens office handles cases from both McMinn and Monroe, while the Cleveland office handles cases from both Bradley and Polk counties.


Our Mission


Mission Statement:


"As a community initiated and supported agency, The Health, Opportunity, Protection and Encouragement Center, Inc., hereafter called The H.O.P.E. Center, Inc., and/or 10th Judicial District Children’s Advocacy Center strives to serve those members of this community and surrounding areas who are victims of domestic violence, victims of rape and sexual assault, and children who are victims of sexual and/or physical abuse.  The long range benefits of this work will be a decrease in the violent acts occurring in the home, education and prevention of the community at large and early intervention.  Resulting in the interruption of the cycle of generational family violence. Improving the quality of life for those victims specified, resulting in a better community for all people."


Target Goals

  • Provide the community with an agency dedicated to facing child sexual and physical abuse in a professional and evidence-based manner than allow cases to be successfully taken to court.
  • Reduce the stress and inconvenience of the medical examinations that are sometimes  necessary.
  • Maintain an interpersonal and supportive relationship with all clients where services are matched with needs in order to intricately support recovery.
  • Bring counseling services onsite in order to make appointments more convenient and maintain focus on a team approach to recovery.
  • Put in place team-building meetings and training to evaluate and maintain the quality of services provided.


Our Services

  • Forensic Interview

Forensic interviews are interviews with a child victim of sexual or physical abuse that is meant to gather narrative evidence in a legally defensible and non-leading manner. Our forensic interviewers have been certified and trained in the most up to date evidence-based practices available for interacting with children in the interview room. Evidence must be gather in a very specific way in order for this interview to be upheld in court. However, parents can rest assured that we always prioritize the child's safety and comfort when in the interview room. A child is never pushed to talk or forced into the interview room. A refusal to participate in an interview simply results in a reschedule at a better time for the child.

  • Forensic Medical Exam

The forensic medical is a specialized exam that is performed only when the team decides that it will be beneficial to the case. This exam is conducted by a certified SANE-P (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner - Pediatric), and during the exam evidence is collected from areas of reported penetration. This exam can sometimes be difficult for children, and it is with this in mind that we strive to make this exam as comfortable and child friendly as possible. All children undergoing a forensic medical examination are treated with warmth and patience, and the boundaries of the child are always the top priority.

  • Family Advocacy

An advocate is defined as someone who publicly supports a cause or policy. This is not unlike the family advocates that we have here at the CAC. These individuals are dedicated to serving clients who had been victims of child sex or physical abuse; however, there job does not stop there. Children are normally dependent upon their family, and beyond the child victims immediate needs, there are are often needs of the family that should be met as well. This ensures that the child is given the best opportunity to recover and move forward successfully. Our family advocates, therefore, work both with the child AND the family to connect services with needs. Family advocates educate the family on what is to be expected throughout the recover process, update the family as their case evolves, sit with and advocate for the family in the courtroom, network for the family so that they may reach services, and above all support the family as much as possible while maintaining proper boundaries. The family advocate's focus and priority is on the well being of the child and family from first contact on.

  • Counseling Referral with Onsite Accommodations

Thanks to our collaboration with Omni Community Health, The Children's Advocacy Center is able to offer counseling services to each of our referred clients. Omni operates out of the CAC building in both our Athens and Cleveland locations. This allows us to make counseling services as convenient and accessible as possible for our clients. Furthermore, thanks to this collaboration, we are able to work with Omni to bring clients a uniquely integrated and personalized quality of service through continuous communication and evaluation.

  • Evaluation

Having a well trained staff with a positive outlook and practiced interpersonal skills is essential to providing the best service to our community. The HOPE Center, therefore prides itself in building strong bonds between employees. This bond and positive attitude is then reflected in the way we reach out and interact with client; however, this is only the first step. Our staff attends weekly collaborative team meetings with the purpose of evaluating one another alongside administrative staff. This team building evaluation process keeps the agency strong and efficient. Beyond internal staff evaluation, our agency as a whole is also an accredited member of The National Children's alliance. This national organization sets the standard for evidence-based practice in a children's advocacy center and we are proud to reflect those standards in our day to day work with every client. Finally, The HOPE Center continuously evaluates performance through follow-up surveys. This follow up, along with United Way's continuing Community Needs Assessments, gives our sponsors, you as a community, and us as an agency a good look at just how well we are impacting the community.



Locate Us

In Athens and Cleveland, Tennessee!

Athens, TN - 704 West Madison Avenue 37303

Cleveland, TN - 2600 Executive Park 37312

423 - 790 - 5740

423 - 744 - 0599


---Board of Directors---

Athens Board of Directors

Nicole GibbsVP of Marketing/Communications-Athens Federal Bank

  • President
  • Executive Committee

Susan Tullock - Business Owner - Bargain Barn & United Grocery Outlet

  • Treasurer
  • Executive Committee

Kathy Dougherty - School Board Member - McMinn County

  • Board Member
  • Executive Committee Secretary

Carolyn Colvin - Retired Victims Witness Coordinator - TN State

  • Board Member
  • Executive Committee
  • Vice-President

Lyn Thompson - Certified Public Accountant

  • Board Member
  • Strategic Planning Committee

Sharon Brown - State Farm Insurance

  • Board Member
  • Strategic Planning Committee

Debbie Petrey - HR Manager - Johnson Controls

  • Board Member

Robert Davis III - Captain - Athens Police Department

  • Past President
  • Strategic Planning Committee

Dave Graybeal - Keith United Methodist Church

  • Board Member

Linda Garza - Professor - Tennessee Wesleyan College

  • Board Member

Trey Winder - Attorney

  • Board Member

Cleveland Advisory Board

Julia Wilson - Omnivisions Self East

Jana Pankey - Cleveland State CC

Cindy Slater - Whirlpool

Cynthia A. LeCroy - Schemel/10th Judicial Attorney General's Office

Kristina Byrd - Centerstone

Reba Garrison - State Farm

Bruce Bradford - River Valley Ag Credit