The Children's Advocacy Center of Central Texas (CACCT) began its existence in 1997 when George Moffat, a former Bell County Sheriff's Office investigator recognized the need for a child-friendly interview room where interviews of young victims could be conducted. A space at the Juvenile Detention Center was donated for this purpose. The vision of the center continued to grow and eventually, with the help of former Bell County attorney investigator, Jack Mazzucca, and various dedicated board members, the Children's Advocacy Center was created.
In 1998, the CACCT formed as a corporation and achieved non-profit status, and start-up funds were secured to hire the first Executive Director, Michelle Carter. In 1999, the CACCT served 189 children and expanded to a small office on Wall Street in Belton. In 2001, the CACCT grew its jurisdiction and began providing services to children in Coryell County.
In April 2003, the center acquired Dr. Long's former medical office located at 402 N Main Street. A building that was previously committed to the wellbeing of children was the perfect spot for the CACCT to meet the increased need for services.
The CACCT merged with CASA of Bell and Coryell Counties in 2007 where both programs were able to expand and assist families with case management needs. However, in 2015 the two programs split to operate independently and be recognized as stand-alone entities.
In 2017, the CACCT grew again due to increased federal funding and community support to encompass Milam County. The center also extended therapy services to 328 N Main Street Belton to form the 'Hope House' that provides all therapeutic interventions for children and their families.
In 2021, after a 20-year career, Michelle Carter retired and the agency brought on their current executive director, Debra Longley to continue the agency's mission and vision.
Today, the center is expected to serve more than 850 children through approximately 5,000 specialized services. The agency budget has grown from $89,000 in 1999 to almost $950,000 in 2020. To date, we have served more than 10,000 children and their families in Bell, Coryell, and Milam County.
The Children's Advocacy Center model of a Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT) approach, was developed through the vision of Former Alabama Congressman, Robert E. "Bud" Cramer, Junior. While serving as District Attorney, Cramer reached the conclusion that efforts to investigate and prosecute child abuse were often duplicated and inefficient. In a criminal justice system designed around adults, child victims were being re-victimized by the system, having to retell their abuse stories to multiple investigators. Criminal cases were weakened by the lack of coordination between agencies. Therefore, Cramer and a group of key individuals pulled together law enforcement, criminal justice, Family and Protective Services, and medical and mental health workers into one coordinated team. Congressman Cramer's vision to create a child-friendly environment where children could receive all services needed to help heal from abuse led to the creation of more than 1,000 Children's Advocacy Centers across the country, with more than 70 centers in Texas.