Our Story Who We Are
The Muskogee County Child Advocacy Center has a rich history and was the dream of a Muskogee Police Officer and an Assistant District Attorney. They realized child abuse in Muskogee County was extremely high yet not a priority. Children were being taken from agency to agency enduring multiple interviews and reliving the trauma of the abuse.
In 1993, this police officer and assistant district attorney attended the National Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse in Huntsville, Alabama. They visited the original Huntsville Child Advocacy Center, which was developed under the leadership of Congressman Bud Cramer, then Madison County District Attorney. Upon seeing this organization, with its multidisciplinary team of professionals, they immediately knew this was something Muskogee County needed in order to conduct more effective and less fragmented interviews and investigations. Also, better and more effective services could be provided with less trauma to the child.
In 1995 directors and administrators of community service agencies signed an agreement to work together for the betterment of children in Muskogee County and a Multidisciplinary Team was developed. This team of professionals worked endless hours on documents, bylaws, incorporation papers and finding a facility for a child advocacy center. A Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Grant was received in June 1997 and the dream of a child advocacy center became a reality in September 1997. In 1998 the National Children’s Alliance conducted a site visit and certified Kids’ Space as a nationally recognized children’s advocacy center.
Grants, local foundations, charities, organizations and fundraisers, as well as generous donations from the community, provide funding for the programs and services. Today, there are twenty child advocacy centers in the State of Oklahoma using a multidisciplinary approach for interviewing and investigating child abuse allegations. Kids’ Space has three full-time employees, one part-time employees and contracts with various agencies including part-time therapists specializing in children and trauma-based mental health services. There is a 15-member governing Board of Directors and numerous Kids’ Space volunteers.
The mission of the Muskogee County Child Advocacy Center is to provide a coordinated, community response to child abuse victims, their non-offending caregivers and victims of sexual assault.
That all children who are victims of sexual and physical abuse have advocates and resources provided for them. That all law enforcement agencies in our county use Kids’ Space. And to see a reduction in the placement of children by child protection agencies from their homes because of a reduction of abuse in our community.
The goal of Kids’ Space is to ensure that children are not victimized again by the very system designed to protect them.
No crimes are more destructive to our society than those against children. Since the mid 1980s, the agencies which investigate and prosecute child abuse have worked together to prioritize the nurturing needs of children experiencing a child abuse investigation. Recognizing that our judicial system is geared for adults, the agencies involved in child abuse have taken a stand and coordinated a multidisciplinary approach in the investigation and prosecution of child abuse.
So…why Kids’ Space? The Center was established in 1997 as a child-friendly environment to provide services for child victims of abuse and their non-offending family members. Kids’ Space uses a child abuse response team approach to coordinate the judicial and social service systems’ responses to abuse victims.
Forensic interviews are conducted in a neutral, fact-finding manner that is child-friendly in nature and also coordinated to avoid duplicate interviewing. Communities using this approach report a significant increase in criminal prosecution and a higher incidence of conviction.