Bradford R. Fenocchio
PLACER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 240
Roseville, California 95678
For Immediate Release
Date: March 16, 2010
Public information Officer
Assistant District Attorney
PLACER COUNTY’S MDIC IS GIVEN
ACCREDITATION FOR 5 MORE YEARS
The Placer County agency that has the task of interviewing children who are reported victims or witnesses in felony child abuse cases or other felony maltreatment has received national accreditation for another five years.
The reaccreditation means that the Multidisciplinary Interview Center, or MDIC, which consists of trained professionals who interview child victims of physical or sexual abuse, has again met the national standards of being a child advocacy center.
Fiona Tuttle, MDIC coordinator, said the accreditation given by the National Children’s Alliance increases the credibility given by families to the agency, which is under the administration of the Placer County District Attorney.
“It’s important to families that we are offering services that are comparable across the nation with other accredited centers,” Tuttle said.
Assistant District Attorney Scott Owens said the MDIC “continues to provide top-quality service year after year.”
“They make it easier for child victims and families to undergo the interview process,” Owens said. “This accreditation is a testament that our collaborative effort is working in Placer County.”
Tuttle said only 17 out of California’s 58 counties have accredited children’s advocacy centers.
“It is a rigorous process to receive accreditation,” she said. “It takes about a year to get from the application date to the on-site review.”
Tuttle said two monitors from the National Children’s Alliance, headquartered in Washington, D.C., visited Placer’s MDIC in November and observed a case review process and conducted interviews with individuals who work in the MDIC.
In February, the MDIC received a letter from the National Children’s Alliance informing it of its reaccreditation.
“Receiving accreditation is a reflection of all the hard work our team has put in toward making the children’s interview process a comfortable experience despite the traumatic event that took place in the life of a child,” Tuttle said.
Placer County’s MDIC, created in 1992, consists of representatives from the District Attorney, law enforcement agencies, Placer County’s Child Protective Services, the county’s victim services program, medical personnel, KidsFirst (formerly the Child Abuse Prevention Council Placer) and other related agencies.
MDIC investigates cases in which sexual abuse of children is alleged. The victims have ranged from two years old to 18 years old.
Since 1993, MDIC has conducted 1,783 interviews in cases in which a serious felony law may have been violated, Tuttle said.
The numbers have increased significantly in recent years. In the past four years alone, MDIC has interviewed 573 children, including 143 in 2009 and a record 160 in 2008. In 2000, MDIC interviewed 94 children.
In an effort to make children feel comfortable before or during interviews, MDIC offers a family waiting area, a victim’s service area, two interview rooms and two conference rooms. Items such as dolls, toys and coloring books are made available to put the children at ease.