Child Advocacy Centers in the United States and Music Therapy

Relationships in the Making


  • Carol Ann Blank Drexel University, United States; Music Together Worldwide, United States



music therapy, Children’s Advocacy Center


In the United States, children who suffer trauma or abuse receive services through Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs). Over 800 CACs provided treatment and services to nearly 325,000 children in 2016 (National Children’s Alliance, 2016b).  CACs coordinate the work of multidisciplinary teams (MDT) including law enforcement, mental health, medical, and social service personnel to help children and families heal. CACs are autonomous groups made up of affiliations with many local agencies. This article provides a description of the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) standards for implementing treatment, including the state of music therapy implementation in CACs. The literature has shown that music therapy can be helpful to address needs of children and families who have experienced trauma, suggesting that this may offer a helpful treatment modality in CACs. However, music therapy is rarely available in CACs. This may be, in part, a result of the lack of randomized controlled trials, a key determining factor for inclusion in the annotated bibliography that accompanies the NCA Standards (National Children’s Alliance, 2013). Music therapy practice has addressed the clinical needs of children and teens who have been abused. This work is often presented in clinical reflections, not randomized controlled trials. Music therapy is currently not included in the treatment modalities utilized by CACs because of a perceived lack of evidence base. This article attempts to synthesize the information available to provide CACs with the current state of research in music therapy with children who have been abused. This article also provides music therapists with a depth of information about the structure and function of CACs, including a synthesis of the NCA Standards of Practice. The article presents a description for the implementation of music therapy services in a CAC in New Jersey and includes recommendations for music therapists who wish to seek out opportunities for clinical practice at CACs

Author Biography

Carol Ann Blank, Drexel University, United States; Music Together Worldwide, United States

Dr. Carol Ann Blank’s research in clinical decision-making with parent-child dyads frames much of the work she does to support music therapists and others working with parent-child dyads. She designs programs and supports clinicians working in a variety of settings. Dr. Blank is also the Manager of Research and Special Needs Services at Music Together Worldwide where she manages the Music Together Within Therapy® program and assists researchers interested in learning more about music, music education, and music therapy, early childhood population.



How to Cite

Blank, C. A. (2018). Child Advocacy Centers in the United States and Music Therapy: Relationships in the Making. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 18(4).