Gonzales Regional Children's Advocacy Center
Gonzales and Lavaca
1604 St. Paul St., Gonzales, Tx 78629  Phone 830-672-1278
Children's Advocacy Centers of Texas
National Children's Alliance
A 501 (C) (3) Tax exempt organization
To restore the dignity, hope
and security to children of
Gonzales, Lavaca and
surrounding counties by uniting
public officials and our

In Gonzales and Lavaca Counties, we are fortunate to have a highly trained team of professionals which meets every month to
respond to child abuse reports.  The roles of the team members are described below.

The County Attorney (Prosecutor) The prosecutor leads the team and has the final decision as to whether charges will be filed.  
Consideration is given to many factors which will affect the likelihood of success in court.  Some factors considered are:  age and
maturity of the child, the child’s ability to testify, whether or not the suspect has confessed, presence of medical evidence and
whether or not there are other witnesses.

The Forensic Interviewer The forensic interviewer talks to the child in a one on one setting to find out what happened.  The
interview is audio and video recorded and the dvds become property of law enforcement, CPS and prosecution.

The Law Enforcement Officer All law enforcement agencies in Gonzales and Lavaca Counties have investigators on the team.  
They interview non-offending parents, suspects and other witnesses, and gather evidence from the scene of the alleged event.

The Family Advocate The Family Advocate is a trained professional who helps the non-offending caregiver when abuse is
reported.  The advocate is available to accompany clients to law enforcement agencies, the hospital, the district attorney's office
and during all court proceedings. The Family Advocate helps connect with services in the community and provides support as the
caregiver protects the child in the aftermath of the abuse report.

The Social Worker The Department of Family Protective Services job is to help protect your child. The DFPS social workers
conduct interviews and develop safety plans.  They may refer you and/or your child to counseling.

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) A nurse with special, extensive training in examining children for possible abuse.  
The nurse will begin with getting a history from your child.  The child will talk and the nurse writes everything down that the child
says.  It is not video or audio recorded. The physical exam includes a head to toe exam, with a genital exam performed only if the
child indicates that they have been touched in that area.  The genital exam is done with a colposcopy, a large microscope with good
lighting.  This exam should not be traumatic or painful and most children are able to remain calm.  Remember, however, that an
exam may not indicate if the child has been abused.  Eighty percent of all children who have been abused have normal exams,
even with a history of penetration, so the team does not rely on these alone to prove abuse.  One definite advantage is that it allows
the Nurse to assure the child that his/her body is OK.  The nurse can also check for STD’s.  The SANE nurse is allowed to testify in
court to what the child says to her.

The Counselor Mental health professionals (Counselors) on the team help decide how the abuse has affected the child and family
and what can be done to assist them in healing from the experience.  Counseling is available to the child and any non-offending
family member.  Counseling services at Norma’s House are free of charge.
A Child's Team