I am pleased to present to you MACA’s 2022 annual report. MACA’s mission is to pioneer the most promising, leading-edge ways that help victims of child abuse. In this year’s report, I want to highlight how we accomplish this work, namely by promoting interventions that work, delivering effective educational programming, galvanizing informed and committed legislative support, and mobilizing communities to have tough but necessary conversations about child abuse.
I could not be prouder of our remarkable strides in fulfilling our mission this year.
In FY ‘22, we successfully concluded a five-year endeavor with the state legislature to streamline various small, discreet pots of money into one funding line item within the Department of Public Health budget. This efficiency takes a lot of administrative burdens off CACs so that focus can remain on the children they serve.
As with all our work, our success would not have happened without our partners in the legislature. Senators Michael Rodrigues and Julian Cyr worked tirelessly to make our funding a reality, and I was so pleased to honor both with MACA’s Child Champion Awards.
Our work didn’t end there. We filed bills for enabling legislation for MACA and Children’s Advocacy Centers because codifying our work in state law is another important step to ensuring that all children in need receive the trauma-focused, victim-centered, evidence-based response they deserve.
In addition, we led the charge to secure $40 million in state dollars to meet the federal funding shortfall for the Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) advocacy campaign. VOCA funding in Massachusetts supports 161 victim service programs throughout all counties in the Commonwealth. In FY21, over 96,000 victims were served — the highest record in agency history. In response, I was awarded the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance’s (MOVA) Gerard D. Downing Leadership Award, which I accepted on behalf of MACA.
There are also new developments in our Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Service Enhancement Project. Thanks to funding from VOCA, we’re able to ensure that every county in the Commonwealth has a designated CSEC Coordinator to facilitate our Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs). Together, these teams ensure that exploited and at-risk youth receive the support, safety, and healing they need, while also investigating their alleged exploitations. In FY ‘22, unique victims of CSEC received 29,730 services.
Another priority for us is our continued work with children exhibiting problem sexual behaviors (PSB). With early and effective interventions, ninety-eight percent of children and adolescents with PSBs will not re-offend and instead grow into healthy adults. In July 2020, we launched our pilot program leading statewide awareness and interventions for children showing PSBs. We also started a clinical learning collaborative and trained 38 clinicians in problematic sexual behavior cognitive behavioral therapy (PSB-CBT) at six CACs and their mental health partnering organizations.
We also educated more than 2,500 mental health professionals, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and community members on PSB and the services available. We’re also improving access to children with PSBs by further developing the Out of County Referral and promotion of Telemental Health (TMH).
These examples are just a few of the many highlights of our incredibly busy year. Though our team has devoted itself to maintaining momentum and solid growth, we are increasingly challenged to do this with our existing infrastructure and professional and financial resources.
We do not do this work alone. We work with our members, partner organizations, and individuals to provide better resources and legislation in our state. For example:
- We help community members and organizations identify types of child abuse, how to recognize the warning signs, and steps to be taken if a child is suspected of being abused.
- We offer a variety of trainings to enhance the response to child abuse all across Massachusetts – and increasingly well beyond. With MACA’s support, CACs provide a swift, sensitive, culturally aware, and coordinated response to child victims and witnesses.
While fortunate to have been able to build our revenue with government grants and the generosity of donors, the year ahead will require a robust commitment from the private sector to expand our work and our team to be the gold-standard advocacy organization we need to be.