• Advocacy
  • ChildFirst SC
  • Forensic Interview
  • Forensic Medical Exam
  • MDT
  • Therapy

Victim Advocacy

The Met CAC’s Victim Advocate assists clients and their caregivers to traverse the multiple systems they encounter during the investigation and prosecution processes. Victim Advocacy services may include assisting in scheduling appointments; acting as a liaison between the family and law enforcement or prosecution; answering questions about the services provided at the Met CAC; providing referrals to necessary resources; helping caregivers file applications with the State Office of Victim Assistance; and consulting with the Multidisciplinary Team. The Met CAC Victim Advocate seeks to reduce stress and offer assistance to families as needs arise.


Updated 4/27/17


ChildFirst™ SC


ChildFirst TrainingChildFirst TrainingThe Met CAC trains front-line professionals to respond quickly, sensitively and skillfully to cases of alleged child maltreatment. Students learn the skills necessary to conduct an investigative interview --also known as a forensic interview—of a suspected child abuse victim.
The training program, ChildFirst™ South Carolina, is a collaboration between the USC Children’s Law Center and the SC Department of Mental Health at the Met CAC. The interactive course is conducted over five days and includes classroom instruction, homework assignments, skill-building interviews with children and role-play interviews with professional actors portraying victims of child abuse. There is a written examination at the end of the course.

The training has the following objectives:

  • Understanding the ChildFirst™ SC forensic interview protocol;
  • Understanding the benefits of using a multidisciplinary approach when interviewing children about possible abuse;
  • Applying the information and techniques by participating in role-play interviews;
  • Understanding what it means to serve as a “neutral” professional when obtaining information from the child during a forensic interview; and
  • Reading the significant research and professional articles related to the forensic interviewing of children.


Updated 4/27/17



InterviewForensic Interview

One of the Met’s primary missions is to provide forensically sound, developmentally appropriate fact-finding interviews in a child-friendly environment. We interview children and teenagers between the ages of 3 and 18. Additionally, we sometimes provide such interviews to adults with developmental delays or other functional impairments. Our interviews, which are video-recorded, are generally conducted at the request of an involved law enforcement or child protective services agency. Under some circumstances, the Met CAC will conduct an interview at the request of a medical provider. Met CAC interviewers have extensive experience and specialized training in forensic interviewing techniques, as well as child development, childhood disorders, memory and suggestibility, and dynamics of abuse.


Updated 4/27/17


medical examForensic Medical Exam

Children receive specialized medical examinations at the Met by providers who are trained in child abuse pediatrics. We are dedicated to reducing children’s anxiety at every step of the process. Before an examination takes place, children meet the Child Life Specialist (CLS), who has special training in assisting children in medical settings.  The CLS explains every aspect of the exam, using age-appropriate language and orienting the child to the exam room and equipment. The child then meets the medical provider and nurse, and the CLS remains with the child throughout the exam. No part of the process is physically painful, and children are given many choices to reinforce their feelings of control.


Updated 4/27/17



The Met CAC coordinates and serves on the Richland County Child Abuse Investigation Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT). The MDT was developed in 1993 to enhance communication across agencies responding to suspicions of child abuse. The Richland County MDT consists of local law enforcement agencies, DSS, the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office and the Met CAC. The team meets regularly to review cases, coordinate efforts, and share information. Through these efforts, we seek to improve outcomes and diminish the burdens placed on children and families.


Updated 4/27/17



Therapy and Referrals

Following a child’s interview and / or medical examination, there may be some discussion with caregivers regarding the initiation of therapy. Appropriate therapy can be a vital component in helping children and families communicate effectively, develop coping skills, and process experiences in a healthy manner.  Some short-term interventions are offered at the Met CAC, but more often, we refer children and families to other mental health practitioners with training and experience in evidence-based, forensically sensitive therapy. Referrals are tailored to meet specific needs, and our Victim Advocate can even facilitate the scheduling of the first appointment. Therapy service providers include our parent program, Columbia Area Mental Health Center, as well as several other private providers. If a family needs a referral for services in another geographic area, our Victim Advocate can assist in identifying an appropriate provider.



Updated 4/27/17