Our Story

Our Mission – Creating safe, trauma-informed support, while seeking justice for child victims of sexual assault.

The girl in the yellow dress.

The seeds of the Children’s Advocacy Center were planted in 1991 by then-Chief of Grand Rapids Police Bill Hegarty. We invite you to hear Chief Hegarty’s story.

New name, new building, same mission.

In 2018, the Center changed its name to the Children’s Advocacy Center, reflecting the broader scope of services we’ve come to offer through the years. We also moved into a new, larger building to offer expanded programming and accommodate more of the 1,000 cases of suspected cases of child abuse reported in Kent County each year. Not only that, the Center was recently recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council as LEED Certified.

The Children’s Advocacy Center provides a safe space where children can receive all the services they may need after being sexually abused. We also go out into the community to empower children and adults to recognize, report and prevent sexual abuse.

All of our services are delivered free of charge to families, thanks to the generous support of the community and the guidance of a visionary board of directors. Services are administered by an expert staff, assisted by on-site law enforcement agents and Children’s Protective Services representatives.

A community response to a community crisis.

The Center is a private, nonprofit organization funded through a partnership of government and community support and is a fully-accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance. We also receive funding from the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission and Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board. We coordinate the efforts of local organizations to stop child sexual abuse and reduce the trauma of victimized children and families.