In 2007 the Children’s Advocacy Center of Indiana County (formerly located at 617 Church Street) merged with the Center for Family Life. Services began at the CAC of Indiana County in January of 2006 through the efforts of Teresa Smith, Anne Lynn, and Dr. Kathryn Bonach, an IUP Professor in the Sociology Department. The first CAC was established in Huntsville, Alabama in the 1980s to meet the needs of abused children and their families in a warm, non-threatening, child-friendly environment. The CAC simplifies the process of forensic interviews by focusing on the child victim and their family, and works collaboratively with local child protective services, law enforcement, district attorney’s offices, hospital, medical providers, mental health providers, and other agencies. The CAC of Indiana County is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance. For more information about the NCA and the accreditation process, please visit the NCA’s website: http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/
In 2012 the Center for Family Life became known as “The CARE Center of Indiana County” when the CAC of Indiana County moved to The CARE Center’s current location and the building was renovated.
CARE stands for Child Advocacy and Relationship Enhancing. The name is symbolic of what we do in many ways; as a supporter, staff, or board member, we are called to care. Care for the child, the parents, and the needs of the family. Additionally, our name is representative of the services we provide. We are a child advocate, as the child is always the center of all of our services, and we work to enhance relationships between parents and children.
The services provided at The CARE Center include: Nurturing Parenting Group, Family Preservation Services, Supervised Visitations, and Forensic Interviewing of children. The first floor hosts the CAC, where forensic interviews are conducted. The CARE Center is able to host up to three supervised visits at one time on the second floor and offers Family Preservation Services at the Center or in the home. The supervised visit spaces, designed to look and feel as much as possible like "home," were designed and decorated by a group of dedicated interior design students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The CARE Center originally began providing services in the 1970s under the name “Parents Anonymous” – a child abuse prevention agency operating in group format, and providing opportunities for parents to vent their frustrations in a supportive environment. This grassroots endeavor helped parents to change their own behaviors based on philosophical, legal, and social changes of the time.
Parents Anonymous later expanded its services to meet the needs of the county and changed its name to “The Center for the Improvement of Family Life” in the mid-1980s. The Center strove to improve family life by adding home visitation services and one-on-one parenting education. They assisted parents in setting limits and boundaries for themselves and their children, teaching parents the importance of positive attention, and encouraging parents to listen to their children.
In the 1990s the Center saw a need for child access for separated, divorced, and never-married parents. The Center responded by offering supervised visitation services to non-custodial parents at the Center. In April 1996 the Center again changed its name to the “Center for Family Life, Inc” and moved from a part-time to full-time non-profit in order to provide additional services. The Center purchased its current facility, at 125 N 5th St., Indiana, PA, in the year 2000.