About the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County

In 2003, a group of concerned citizens spear-headed a task force made up of representatives from local child-serving agencies in order to address the lack of a coordinated response to investigations into child abuse in Aiken County. All too often, children with the courage to talk about the abuse they had experienced were expected to undergo repeated questioning about the most traumatic event in their lives. Many times they had to tell their story in places that were not child-friendly and were interviewed by persons who were not trained to talk with children.  The CAC of Aiken was established to ensure that all the services a child and family needs (medical examinations, forensic interviewing, advocacy support) could occur in one location – a safe, nurturing, child-friendly environment, at no cost to a child’s family.

Since opening with one staff member in 2003, The CAC of Aiken has experienced significant program growth and now employs 7 professionals with wide ranging expertise. The incredible support and generosity of community stakeholders have helped the center achieve great things during its brief history:

  • 2003 – 11 agency task force signed its first Multidisciplinary Agreement. The staff of one began conducting forensic interviews with children.
  • 2004 – Obtained its 501-c-3 and began a capital campaign to build a permanent building
  • 2006 – Expanded its reach to include surrounding counties and established a Multidisciplinary Team in Barnwell County
  • 2008 – Ribbon cutting for its new building (and current location) on Trolley Line Rd. in Aiken
  • 2008 – Obtained National Accreditation through the National Children’s Alliance
  • 2010 – began prevention education and began conducting Stewards of Children Trainings, educating over 200 adults every year.
  • 2015 – Added a Child Advocate to staff in order to provide non-offending caregivers emotional support and information about community resources.
  • 2019 – Increased capacity to conduct Forensic Interviews by adding an additional Forensic Interviewer/Therapist to its staff. Conducted a record number of forensic interviews (509).
  • 2020 – Increased its capacity to keep up with the demand for Medicals by adding an additional medical provider.

Without a CAC

To understand what a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell about the worst thing that has happened in his or her life over and over again, to doctors, police officers, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may have to talk about that traumatic experience in a police station where they think they might be in trouble or may be asked the wrong questions by a well-meaning teacher or other adult that could hurt the case against the abuser.

With a CAC

When police or child protective services (SC Dept. of Social Services) believe a child is being abused, the child is brought to the CAC—a safe, child-focused environment—by a caregiver or other “safe” adult. At the CAC, the child tells their story one time to a trained interviewer who knows the right questions to ask in a way that does not retraumatize the child. Then, a team that includes medical professionals, law enforcement, mental health, solicitor’s office, child protective services, victim advocacy, and other professionals make decisions together about how to best help the child and their family. CAC’s offer trauma-focused therapy and medical exams, victim advocacy, case management, and other services. This is called the multidisciplinary team (MDT) response and is a core part of the work of CAC’s do in South Carolina.

Child Advocacy Center Advantages

  • Reduces the number of interviews a child victim must endure, which reduces the trauma to the child.
  • Creates a comfortable, child-friendly environment for the investigation as opposed to the environment typically experienced in a hospital emergency room or police station.
  • Reduces law enforcements and social services investigative time.
  • Enables quicker prosecutions through more efficient case processing.
  • Increases communication between agencies for an improved understanding of their roles and case need.

How Does the CAC Model Work?

The Child Advocacy Center of Aiken is built on the belief that no one agency or professional can solve the problem of child abuse alone. Child Advocacy Centers are community based, and the CAC of Aiken would not be possible without the commitment of many community partners.

To avoid the costly duplication of services and to build upon existing expertise, The CAC of Aiken’s multidisciplinary partners include: 

Prosecution
Family Advocacy
Protective Services
Law Enforcement
Mental Health
Forensic Interview
Medical
Education

Learn more about our team approach

The Executive Director

Maryann Burgess
Executive Director

Mrs. Maryann Burgess is the Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County. In this role, Director Burgess leads the Center in the coordination of investigations, treatment, and prosecution of the most serious cases of child abuse in Aiken and its surrounding counties.

 

Before her time at the CAC of Aiken County, Burgess led a successful career as a thirty-year law enforcement officer, most of that time serving as the managing Captain of Aiken Department of Public Safety’s Youth Services Division.

 

In addition to her role as executive director, Director Burgess serves as the co-chair of the Second Judicial District Human Trafficking Task Force in South Carolina. In this position, Burgess plays a vital role in addressing the crime of human trafficking in South Carolina in collaboration with federal, state, and local agencies.

 

Burgess holds a Basic Law Enforcement Certification focused in Criminal Justice and Police Science from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from the University of South Carolina Aiken.

The Staff

Taylor Brady, MSW, LMSW
Forensic Interviewer | Therapist | MDT Coordinator

Mrs. Taylor Brady, an experienced therapist and military cryptologic linguist, is a forensic interview specialist, therapist, and family advocate with the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County. Mrs. Brady also leads our Multi-Disciplinary Team.
 
Brady holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in Mental Health from the University of South Carolina, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology from Ohio University, and an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in Chinese Studies from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.
 
Brady is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) through the Association of Social Work Boards, a ChildFirst Certified Forensic Interviewer through the National Children’s Alliance, and is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) through the Medical University of South Carolina.

Logan C. Ford, PACE, CBOM
Office Manager

Mr. Logan C. Ford, an experienced administrative professional and church administrator, is the Office Manager for the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County.

 

Ford holds the Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE) from the American Society of Administrative Professionals and the Certified Business Office Manger (CBOM) certification from the Management and Strategy Institute. 

Lantisha Scott, MA, MSW, LCSW-A
Forensic Interviewer | Therapist

Mrs. Lantisha Scott, an experienced social worker and psychotherapist, is a forensic interview specialist, therapist, and family advocate with the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County.
 
Scott holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Walden University, a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology from the University of Arizona. Scott is currently pursuing a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, located in Washington, DC.
 
Scott is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate (LCSW-A) through the National Association of Social Workers – North Carolina Chapter, a ChildFirst Certified Forensic Interviewer through the National Children’s Alliance, and is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) through the Medical University of South Carolina.

The Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Debbie Eblen
Chairperson

DR. thayer mcgahee
Vice Chairperson

DR. liz stewart
Treasurer

Cyndi Catts
Secretary

Gina Bassford
PAST CHAIRPERSON

BOARD MEMBERS

La’Lita Ashley
 
Diane Daniell
 
Kathy Harris
 
Cathy Martin
 
Jeff Powell
 
Penny Rue
 
Kent Williams

Employment

Thank you for your interest in becoming a part of the team at The Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County.

The CAC of Aiken is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in its work and staff. Employment decisions at our agency are made without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sex, national origin, disability status, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable state or federal law.

Current Openings:

No current openings.

 

Internships

Thank you for your interest in becoming an intern with our organization. If you are interested in becoming one of our interns, please complete the attached application and email it along with your resume to mburgess@cacofaiken.org.

Intern Application + Description

Our 2019 Annual Report

Download the report now

Latest News