Twenty to 30 percent of child sexual abuse victims experience their abuse at the hands of another child or youth. While research indicates that child sexual abuse rates have declined overall over the past 40 years, the reported rates of abuse cases involving youth with problematic sexual behaviors hasn’t budged. We have the opportunity to transform the lives of child victims and children with sexually acting out behaviors by transforming the system response. Participants will learn how to leverage their existing child abuse response; motivate stakeholders to engage in a change initiative; and win the community and policymaker hearts-and mind-campaign needed to ensure that no child is left behind.
Teresa Huizar is executive director of the Washington-based National Children’s Alliance. She has served at every level in the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) movement, beginning her career in 1993 at a CAC in Colorado developing psychoeducation curricula. She has subsequently served in executive roles at the local center, the state chapter, the western regional center, and finally with the national organization, which she has led since 2008. Over the course of her career in the movement, she has successfully advocated for the passage of legislation and policy initiatives that help child victims of abuse at the local, state, and national levels.
Under Teresa’s leadership, National Children’s Alliance is at the center of a nationwide movement of more than 800 CACs in communities in every state. NCA leads this movement as the national association and accrediting body for CACs. Through the development of the Standards for Accredited Members and the accreditation process, NCA ensures the highest standards of practice consistent with the latest research for its Accredited Members. As the federal advocate for CACs, NCA represents the CAC movement on Capitol Hill and to the federal agencies that support CACs. NCA also leads special projects to build and improve practice for CACs in the areas of promising mental health treatments, emerging issues in the field such as child sex trafficking and youth with sexual behavior problems, and tracking child outcomes through shared data.