In December of 1980, four local women established I-CARE (Independent Child Abuse Relief Enterprises), a private, non-profit counseling center for abused children and families. Its first year, I-CARE provided counseling to 50 children in a small house in Daytona Beach. As demand for services increased, Susan and Chapman Root helped I-CARE purchase a larger house on Frederick Avenue. Soon, that house was expanded to provide more room for the growing program. Within a year, I-CARE opened a satellite office in DeLand, and soon, the agency also had satellite offices in Deltona, New Smyrna Beach and Palm Coast.
In 1994, I-CARE merged with the Child Protection Team and Perinatal Support Services to become a Children’s Advocacy Center. We are proud to have been the first nationally accredited, full-service Children’s Advocacy Center in the state of Florida. The Child Advocacy Model of Child Protection, which began in 1985 in Huntsville, Alabama, provides a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach to child abuse. Prior to this approach, abused children were forced to tell and retell the uncomfortable details of their abuse to police, child protective services, medical personnel, educators and others. This stressful process was often as terrifying to children as the trauma they originally suffered.
At the Advocacy Center, children relate the details of their abuse one time, to a trained interviewer in a home-like, safe atmosphere. The disclosure is recorded and the video is shared with law enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office. Additional sharing of information is accomplished through the multi-disciplinary team. In addition to the Child Protection Team and Family & child Trauma Treatment Services, the multi-disciplinary team consists of law enforcement, State’s Attorney, Department of Children and Families, Guardian Ad Litem, the judicial system and school district personnel. All agencies involved with the child and family meet at the Advocacy Center and create an informed, coordinated plan that provides optimal, unduplicated community services.
In July of 1997 I- CARE was renamed The Children’s Advocacy Center of Volusia & Flagler Counties. The newly formed Center moved into the renovated, historic YWCA building at 344 S. Beach Street, Daytona Beach in January of 2001. In 2007, the Center moved to its current location at 1011 West International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach.