Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How/why do children come to the CAC? How do cases get to the CAC team?

A: After a formal report to CA or law enforcement based on specific allegations, children may come to Partners for a medical examination, forensic interview and/or therapy services. In the past years we have provided services for children from 22 Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho counties.

Q: How much does a specialized medical examination and/or forensic interview cost?

A: There is no charge for the services provided by Partners' Children's Advocacy Center; however, children are seen by referral only from pediatricians, law enforcment, or Children's Administration.

Q: What are the ages of the children that come to Partners' CAC?

A: We see children of all ages, races and genders. We typically see children ages 0-10. For mental health counseling, we see children and adults.

Q: Does Partners with Families & Children help families with food, clothing or housing needs?

A: Partners does not provide these services. For assistance please visit our Resources page.

Q: What if I'm not sure a child is being abused?

A: Individuals sometimes hesitate to report child abuse cases unless they are convinced beyond a doubt that the abuse occurred. Although this is understandable, it is not the best response and often comes from misguided "good intentions." Do not try to find "proof" that the abuse has happened before choosing to take action. You could ultimately jeopardize the child's protection and the investigation by not acting on a reasonable suspicion.

Q: Do children ever make false allegations of child abuse?

A: Multiple studies demonstrate that false allegations of child sexual abuse are rare. In fact, only 2 percent of such allegations are shown to be based on lies--and the majority of those come from adults, not from children who say they have been victimized. Remember, children are often afraid to tell anyone that they've been sexually abused because the abuser may have threatened them or because they fear they'll be punished for what happened. That makes it all the more important for adults to believe a child who has the courage to come forward - even in the face of the rare lie.

Q: Are children scarred for life if they are abused?

A: Children are remarkably resilient and can overcome the trauma of abuse and lead normal, happy, healthy lives. Family support and counseling can reduce the likelihood of lifelong trauma, which is why Parters' model includes holistic family treatment services. However, child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse can result in negative and/or destructive behaviors among its victims, which can continue into adulthood if successful intervention does not occur. In addition to the greater potential for criminal behavior, these negative and/or destructive behaviors may include depression, guilt, learning difficulties, runaway behavior, hysterical seizures, phobias, nightmares, compulsive rituals, self-destructive behaviors, development of eating disorders, substance abuse and addiction, indiscriminate sexual behavior, and suicidal behaviors.

Q: How do I protect my child from being abused?

A: Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Speak to your children using the proper names for their body parts. Armed with information, children are better able to report abuse to you.
Teach your children about safe and unsafe touches, as well as what is appropriate physical affection.
Let your children know that respect for elders doesn't extend to an adult that has made your child uncomfortable. It's OK to say no and it's OK to leave the situation, if possible. Trust your instincts. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, follow up.
Know the people your children spend time with (babysitters, friends parents, etc.). Check references and backgrounds of potential babysitters. Meet them, and make sure your child is comfortable with them, too. Remember, it is rarely a stranger who abuses a child, so do not focus only on stranger safety when you talk to your child about abuse. Believe your child. Children rarely lie about abuse.

Q: Does Partners address custody or visitation issues?

A: No. The CAC serves children who are victims of severe physical and sexual abuse, and our Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders programs provide therapy that fulfills various court ordered treatment plans. We do not provide advice or assistance in matters of custody or visitation.

Q: My friend said he received great counseling support from Partners. Can I self-refer for services?

A:We need to gather some preliminary information before we can schedule an Intake and Assessment to determine if our programs meet your needs. Your first step is to call 509-473-4810.

Q: What if my girlfriend and I just want couples counseling?

A: Medicaid still requires that at least one individual meets medical necessity criteria and there is a treatment or Recovery Plan that establishes services that benefit the individual enrolled. Couples counseling may be one of the mental services in the Recovery Plan.

Q: How is Partners funded?

A: Partners with Families & Children, a private non-profit agency, has a diverse funding base which includes contracts, foundation and government grants, individual donations, corporate gifts and investments. We do not receive funds from the United Way.

Q: Are gifts to Partners with Families & Children tax deductible?

A: Yes, Partners is a 501(C)(3) charitable organization; therefore, all gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. For additional information on the tax-deductibility of gifts, contact Linda Safford, Director of Development, at lsafford@partnerswithfamilies.org.