Children’s Advocacy Center
2855 Michigan St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
At the Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County, we promote a safe space where all are welcome. This includes those of all gender identities, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, languages spoken, culture, and more. At the Center, all are respected and honored, and everyone deserves a path to healing aligned with their own identity and values.
We consistently strive to make our services accessible to all and maintain our priorities of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. This includes providing transportation, translation services, and disability accommodations as needed to both clients and their caregivers. It also extends to the fulfillment of immediate needs and resources that may be a barrier to healing.
We have a strict zero-tolerance policy of any discrimination or harassment among our staff, board, partner agencies, clients, and any visitors to our building. We recognize that maintaining a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment means consistently growing our understanding of others and educating ourselves on injustices occurring within our own community, as well as the world around us. It also requires awareness of where we need to improve as an organization in maintaining a safe space and advocating against social injustices.
Our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is demonstrated through:
- Community Advisory Council – Our Community Advisory Council is composed of representatives from our Multidisciplinary Team (law enforcement, Child Protective Services, Kent County prosecutor’s office, therapy, victim advocacy, case management, and forensic interviewing) who seek learning and listening opportunities within our community. These opportunities are sought out to better understand barriers and concerns that might exist for under-served and under-resourced families in our community.
- Global Capacity Building Committee – GCBC is a staff-driven committee that provides monthly learning sessions and independent learning resources for our staff and interns. These learning opportunities help our staff better understand the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of families in Kent County. CAC staff are required to attend at least six sessions per year.
- Continual learning opportunities for our Board – Board members are continually engaged with diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants. This helps to provide a broader lens to inform policy and organizational decision-making.
- Community Partnerships – We are regularly building strong partnerships with agencies and organizations in our community that are represented by or work alongside under-served and under-resourced members of our community. We currently offer a satellite office at Cherry Health, providing therapy services in a trusted and accessible setting for our clients.
- Reducing Barriers – We are undergoing a two-year grant-funded project to create a robust plan to reduce race-based inequities for Kent County children of color impacted by abuse. We will be working alongside community members of color to identify needs and barriers to accessing our services. The CAC and partners will create strategies to further address systemic racism by encouraging trauma-informed responses, reducing the broad impact of vicarious trauma, and increasing cultural attunement.
To successfully assess and support child victims of suspected sexual assault and educate children and the community to prevent such assaults, prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is vital. Child sexual abuse may happen to anyone across any demographic. To hear the story, heal the pain, and halt the cycle we provide an accessible environment where all feel welcome, safe, and valued for who they are.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County is located on the ancestral homelands of the Peoria and Odawa tribes. Throughout time, members of The Council of the Three Fires (Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa) have also resided here. As part of our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging we wish to honor and preserve the history of these people. We make this land acknowledgment with an understanding that it is one of many steps needed to stand in solidarity with Native nations.