Schenectady County Child Advocacy Center
The Schenectady County Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Team exists to protect and serve child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. The primary purposes are to minimize the trauma experienced by the child, to induce cooperative communication between agencies, to expedite joint investigations between Law Enforcement and Child Protective Services and to provide services which may be needed by the child and family.
The Team is made up of representatives from law enforcement, the medical community, child advocates, and county social services agencies. Housed in one central location, the center is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that is vital to preventing further trauma to children as they are involved in the process surrounding a case proceeding.
About the Center
The child and non-offending family members are seen at the Schenectady County Child Advocacy Center, a child-friendly space located at 388 Broadway in Schenectady. Forensic Interviews are provided by trained staff members and are conducted in a manner that is fair, accurate, non-leading and which focuses on the needs of the child. All efforts are made to reduce further trauma to a child victim, while preserving any evidence of a crime.
The center provides a one-stop facility where children who are victims of sexual abuse and neglect can receive specialized services and where law enforcement officials can interview them for legal information. The Center has interview rooms, a reception room and offices for law enforcement agencies and victim advocates to use for families and child victims. The interview rooms are soundproof and equipped with microphones and monitors. Other team members can observe interviews without being present in the room with the child and still make sure proper questions are covered. The CAC now contains an examination room, where specially trained nurses can conduct medical examinations of children for any potential evidence in an investigation, as well as treat the overall well-being of a child.
District Attorney Robert Carney established Schenectady County's Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in 2008. State grants were sought and obtained by the DA's Office and the CAC was formed. The state has continued to provide grant support annually to keep the center operational and innovative. The CAC attained National Accreditation through the National Children's Alliance in 2008 and again in 2015.
The multidisciplinary team consists of representatives from law enforcement, the medical community, child advocates, county social services and other groups who work together to investigate and prosecute abuse crimes against children and to provide support services to the victims.
The team provides consultation and programs to schools and community agencies regarding child sexual and physical abuse. Members of the team provide Mandated Reporter training in the community as well.
“The Schenectady County Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Team is dedicated to ensuring comprehensive investigation, prosecution and service provision to child abuse victims and their families in a manner that minimizes further trauma.”
If you suspect that a child is being abused, please call 1 (800) 342-3720 to make a report to the Statewide Central Registry (SCR) for Child Abuse, and/or make a report to police in the county at (518) 630-0911. If it is an emergency, please call 911.
Lynn Chabot, Coordinator
The Child Advocacy Center is run by Lynn Chabot, MDT Coordinator. Lynn graduated from Union College with a degree in Sociology/Crime and the Legal System. Lynn also played soccer at Union for four years. Lynn led the effort to establish the County's first Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in 2008. Prior to joining the DA’s Office, Lynn worked as a Child Protective Services caseworker as well as an Adoption caseworker. In addition to her career in child welfare, Lynn coached girls soccer in the Empire State Games for 9 years, becoming Adirondack Regional Director for the Games for 6 years. Lynn has added her Therapy Dog, Ruby, to the team. Ruby has worked in the CAC for 10 years, helping children, families and MDT members with stress reduction through a calm presence and demeanor.
Stephanie Stuart, Case Coordinator
The Child Advocacy Center has a case coordinator, Stephanie Stuart. Stephanie started at the DA’s Office as a Crime Victim Specialist in February 2002. She spent 14 years helping victims of crime and their families navigate the criminal justice system and helped the prosecutors and families form relationships for better outcomes. Her time there was focused on cases of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault Crimes and Crimes Against Children. She also supported numerous families of victims of homicide through the criminal justice process.
In April of 2016, Stephanie assumed the role as the CAC Case Coordinator at the Child Advocacy Center. She currently plans the day to day events at the CAC, which includes meeting families for forensic interviews, medical care, advocacy, and therapy. She facilitates all case reviews, conferences, and meetings that occur within the team and occasionally outside agencies, and works daily with the many disciplines and provides support to the other CAC staff.
Amanda Weekes, Victim Services Specialist
Amanda Weekes is a Victim Services Specialist advocating and helping in Special Victim Unit cases for the DA’s Office since 2018. She has been with the CAC since 2019.