About Our Organization

BRACAC: Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center

About BRACAC Table Of Contents

We Care About Kids

As a Child Advocacy Center we are chartered with caring for children and young adults that are the victims of abuse in our region of KY.

A non-profit 501c3 agency since 1998, the BRACAC is an Accredited Member of the National Children’s Alliance and a Full Member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Kentucky.

Our mission is possible only through the collaboration of the various professionals that must intervene when sexual abuse and/or exploitation of a child is disclosed or suspected. The Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center or “BRACAC” starts with the idea that no one agency or professional can adequately respond and meet the needs of a child victim. Rather, it takes the expertise of a core multidisciplinary team of professionals – law enforcement, child protection services, prosecutors, physicians, therapists and professional advocates – all working together to provide children and their non-offending family members or caregivers with quality services and support they need.

Located in Bowling Green/Warren County, the BRACAC is a regional Children’s Advocacy Center that serves Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson and Warren Counties. The Center works closely with other professionals through protocols of the region’s ten Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) to coordinate and provide best practices services for victims of child sexual abuse and their non-offending members in one neutral, safe and child friendly location. Offenders – alleged or otherwise, are not permitted at the Center. The Center provides consultation to its MDTs and hospitals and services to children as determined necessary and as staffing and resources allow, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All services are provided on a first-come basis and at no expense to a child’s family.

The trauma and impact of sexual abuse can be devastating to a child. But by working together at the BRACAC, children and families receive quality services in a trauma-informed environment to stop abuse, begin the healing process and enhance the prosecution of offenders of this horrific crime against children.

Mission and Vision

We are committed to the cause of making a difference

It is the Mission of the Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center to reduce trauma to child abuse victims by providing one safe, child-friendly location where teams of professionals work together to pursue justice and offer treatment.
Our Vision is to help and maintain a safe, healthy environment free of child abuse.

The Center

We serve the community through our safe and caring facility

The Center’s facility is designed to make children feel safe and comfortable when they are meeting with investigators and other members of the Multidisciplinary Team. Multiple private child and family friendly waiting rooms, a choice of three age appropriate interview rooms, and a pediatric medical examination room with a lab are just some of the amenities that provide comfort to child victims and their non-offending family members while “going through the system.”The BRACAC is blessed with a large, spacious facility that has been especially designed to make children feel comfortable and safe when meeting with investigators and other members of the multidisciplinary team. The service areas are “home like” rather than clinical to further minimize a child’s feeling of “going through the system.”The facility is handicap accessible complete with a ramp and a wheelchair lift to ensure every child and/or non-offending caregiver can comfortably receive services, as needed. The Center is a smoke free facility.
  • Multiple Private Child and Family Friendly Waiting Rooms:

    Children and families are made as comfortable as possible in the Center’s Family Sitting Room and the Tree House Room.
  • Multiple Age Appropriate Interview Rooms:

    Children are given a choice of three age appropriate interview rooms in which to speak with investigators when telling their stories of abuse.
  • Pediatric Medical Examination Room:

    The Center is equipped with child-friendly examination rooms and specialized equipment that provides physicians with the ability to evaluate a child’s body in a non-invasive manner and collect and document evidence of abuse whenever necessary.
  • Child Play Therapy Room:

    The Center’s primary Child Play Therapy Room offers children a private and safe place to receive counseling and therapy services at their own pace.

    The Center also offers a Family/Group Therapy Room for private group or family sessions involving a child’s non-offending caregivers and a large, child-friendly room to support group work and special activities for children and families.
  • Meeting Rooms:

    The Center is committed to continually providing professional training and development to all members of the Multidisciplinary Teams of the Barren River Region. It is equipped with two large conference rooms to comfortably support that effort.

Board of Directors

We are fortunate to be lead by a Board of leaders in our community

The BRACAC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of dedicated professionals and citizens who live in the ten counties of the Barren River Area and bring individual experience and knowledge together to help make the Center and its services a reality. The Board continues to seek a diverse membership including regional representation, meets a minimum of eight times a year and supports the ever changing needs of a growing Child Advocacy Center. Thank you for your continued support!

BRACAC Board Members

Andi Troutman

Analyst, Commonwealth Health Corp
Board Member

Angie McConnell

Membership Sales Manager, Air Evac Lifeteam
Board Member

Brian Harrell

Major, Bowling Green Police Department
Past President and GTBR Co-Chair, Board Member

Curtis Hargett

Captain, Warren County Sheriff’s Office
Board Member

David Koon

Regional Special Victims Attorney and Major, U.S. Army
Personnel Comm. Chair, Board Member

Davy Rupsch, II

Mental Health Therapist, Rupsch Counseling LLC
Board Member

Debbie Richey

Retired Principal, Briarwood Elementary
Secretary, Board Member

Jessica Massey

Community Volunteer
President, Board Member

Jessica Mercer

Case/Jury/ECRO Admin, US District Court - BG, KY
Board Member

John Gregory

Environmental, Health and Safety Manager, Kobe Aluminum
Nomination Comm. Chair, Board Member

Julie Eaton

Director of Administrative Services, Med Center Health
OTE Co-Chair, Board Member

Kathryn Thomas

County Attorney, Barren County
Board Member

Kimberly Thomas

Executive Vice President, Citizens First Bank
Board Member

Mitchell Walker

Chief of Police, Western Kentucky University Police Dept.
Board Member

Paula Clark

KCTCS & Retired High School Teacher
OTE Co-Chair, Board Member

Rebecca Rose

Retired Teacher, Butler County High School
Legislative Relations Comm. Chair, Board Member

Tammy Johns

Parker Hannifan Corporation, Plant Controller
Treasurer, Board Member

Tim Adams

Commander, Kentucky State Police, Police Post #3
Board Member

Timothy Dick

Accountant, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC
Finance Comm. Chair, Board Member

Tracey Young

District Grant Writer, Warren County Schools
President Elect and NCA Reaccred. Comm. Chair/OTE Co-Chair, Board Member

Whitney Maxwell

Simpson County Board of Education
Board Member

Diversity Statement

BRACAC will foster and nourish an open atmosphere of caring people regardless of their race, age, creed, religion, national origin, physical abilities, gender, or sexual orientation.  We strive to have a board that is reflective of our clients and our community.  Diverse points of view make us a stronger board, better able to serve our clients and our community.

Meet Our Team

Supporting our community 24/7, 365 days a year

The Center is blessed to have a dedicated staff of employed, contractual and volunteer professionals to respond to the needs of child victims and their non-offending family members and/or caregivers every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

BRACAC Staff

Alma Smajlovic

Therapist

Angela Grant

Intake Coordinator

Anna D’Herde

Community Outreach Coordinator

Bibiana Parra

CSW, Therapist

Brittany Brooks

Child Advocate

Chrisie Sherrard

Assistant Director and Child Advocate

Christine Wood

Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator

Christy Jasper

Medical Unit Coordinator

Debbie Pitchford

RN, Medical Assistant

Heather Stockstill

Child Advocate

Heather Webb

LCSW, Clinical Director and Therapist

Jennifer Bryant

BRACAC Director

Katherine Walsh

Therapist

Mark York

CPA

McCall Allen

Forensic Interviewer

Sara Lee

Coordinator of Operations and Finance

Tara Wilson

Forensic Interviewer
Interested in joining our amazing team?  Please check our Hiring page for any open positions or Volunteering/Interning page for more information.

Directions To Our Center

How to get to BRACAC from anywhere in the Barren River Area

BRACAC is centrally located at 103 E. 12th Street, Bowling Green, KY 42101 to minimize travel time to and from services for children and families living in Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and Warren Counties.

It sits on the corner of 12th and Adams Street across from the convenience store. 12th Street and Adams Street are both one-way streets but travel in opposite directions.

The Center is conveniently located three blocks from the Bowling Green Police Department, two blocks from the Warren County Justice Center, and less than a mile from the Warren County Department For Community Based Services (DCBS) Office.

The Center’s main entrance faces the large private parking lot on the south side of the building. There is a ramp for those with special needs and a large free private parking lot for the use of BRACAC visitors only.

Organization History

Looking back on our journey and forward to our commitment

In the spring of 1998, child advocates and professionals in the Barren River Area met to discuss the lack of critical services for victims of child sexual abuse and their non-offending family members. They determined the region desperately needed one, very special and child friendly place that would provide on-site crisis intervention, case investigations and coordination of team members, and most importantly, services to child victims. The group formed a Board of Directors and applied for a small VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) grant later that summer, determined to develop a Child Advocacy Center to serve the region. BRACAC hired an Executive Director in December 1998 and immediately began the ambitious goal to develop a Center that would support a ten county region. With the support of city and county leaders, regional legislators and then Governor and Mrs. Paul E. Patton, BRACAC purchased a large, historical church located just blocks from the Bowling Green Police Department in the summer of 1999. BRACAC then partnered with the Warren County Fiscal Court and the Barren River Area Development District office to apply for a Community Block Development Grant (CDBG) in August 1999, receiving approval in November 1999. With access to the funds made possible in May 2000, BRACAC continued to work diligently to renovate, prepare and occupy the Center’s new home.

Meanwhile, the creation of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Kentucky, the passing of critical legislation establishing Child Advocacy Centers or “CACs,” and the development of additional funding made the addition of a full time Child Advocate possible in April 2000. A full time therapist was added to the staff in the final stages of renovation of the Center’s facility in the winter 2000. Following a long-term recruitment effort, BRACAC teamed up with four dedicated physicians and a volunteer medical assistant in the summer of 2000 to complete specialized training in preparation for the provision of on-site specialized medical examinations for victims of child sexual abuse. Proudly, the Center celebrated its grand opening on January 12, 2001 and immediately went to work providing all core services to the children and families of the ten county region.

The Center now maintains a full time staff of one Executive Director, a Coordinator of Operations & Finance, three Child Advocates, two Therapists, an Intake Coordinator, and an MDT Coordinator. Its extended staff consists of a Community Outreach Coordinator, two part-time Forensic Interviewers, a part-time therapist, three volunteer physicians, an RN and a host of enthusiastic volunteers to support its mission and services to the community.

Our history is strong, but our vision and commitment to positive change for the future of children in our regional community is even stronger…

Accreditation

BRACAC is our community's accredited child advocacy center

To ensure that all children across the United States served by Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) receive consistent, evidence-based interventions that help them heal from abuse, hundreds of CACs have become Accredited Members of the National Children’s Alliance by meeting ten standards and verifying their adherence to the highest standards of practice by submitting to NCA site review.  The Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center is an Accredited Member of the National Children’s Alliance and a Full Member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Kentucky.

For Reaccreditation, CACs must show complete competency in the following standards:

Standard 1:  Multidisciplinary Team

A multidisciplinary team for response to child abuse allegations includes representation from the following: law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, mental health, medical provider, victim advocacy, and a Children’s Advocacy Center.

Standard 2:  Cultural Competency and Diversity

Culturally competent services are routinely made available to all CAC clients and coordinated with the Multi-disciplinary Team Response.

Standard 3:  Forensic Interviews

Forensic Interviews are conducted in a manner that is legally sound, of a neutral, fact finding nature, and are coordinated to avoid duplicative interviewing.

Standard 4:  Victim Support and Advocacy

Victim support and advocacy services are routinely made available to all CAC clients and their non-offending family members as part of the multidisciplinary team response.

Standard 5:  Medical Evaluation

Specialized medical evaluation and treatment services are routinely made available to all CAC clients and coordinated with the Multidisciplinary Team response.

Standard 6:  Mental Health

Specialized trauma-focused mental health services, designed to meet the unique needs of the children and non-offending family members, are routinely made available as part of the multi-disciplinary team response.

Standard 7:  Case Review

A formal process in which multidisciplinary discussion and information sharing regarding the investigation, case status, and services needed by the child and family is to occur on a routine basis.

Standard 8: Case Tracking

Children’s Advocacy Centers must develop and implement a system for monitoring case progress and tracking case outcomes for all MDT components.

Standard 9:  Organizational Capacity

A designated legal entity responsible for program and fiscal operations has been established and implements basic sound administrative policies and procedures.

Standard 10:  Child-Focused Setting

The child-focused setting is comfortable, private, and both physically and psychologically safe for diverse populations of children and their non-offending family members.Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) provide children and families with healing and justice in a setting they can trust. We know they do because of survey responses that are collected each year from our caregivers and partners called the NCA’s Outcome Measurement System (OMS).  This survey helps CACs define their successes in serving children and families while helping them benchmark their progress against the work of a nationwide movement. Here are a few comments from OMS surveys conducted to caregivers and MDT partners regarding their experience at the Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center:

“The way my daughter felt comfortable from the start, everyone was kind and open to her. I also received a lot of information on resources and help with keeping my child safe. I cannot think of anything that would have made this process any better. Thank you.” “

Environment was perfect and my son felt very comfortable. After the interview, my son expressed he enjoyed talking with the interviewer. He was never afraid or scared and that is real blessing.”

“The CAC does wonderful work and provides an amazing service. I enjoy working with all members of the MDT. It is a vital benefit to all involved.”

Our Impact

We work every day to make a difference

Since our founding in 1998, we have helped over 10,000 children in our local community with support after child abuse.