Our mission is to ensure that every child lives a life free from abuse and neglect. CAPS accomplishes this through education, advocacy, and intervention with families and the community to support safe, stable, nurturing relationships for all children.
What is CAPS?
In the early 70's there was a growing concern that child abuse was a problem in Elkhart County and nationwide. In 1974, United Way of Elkhart County appointed a task force to study the problem of child abuse and to find solutions. In 1976, United Way provided funding to hire a Child Abuse Coordinator for Elkhart County. The Child Abuse Coordinator was housed with an existing United Way agency known as the Child Health Society of Elkhart. The Child Health Society later changed its name to New Day Parent-Child Society which resulted in a later name change to Child Abuse Prevention Services. CAPS participated in the first Governor's Conference on Child Abuse in 1976, which led to the formation of the Indiana Chapter of the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse. Much of the focus in late 70's and early 80's was on raising awareness about child abuse and how to prevent it.
CAPS has always been a pioneer in the field of child abuse prevention and has played a leadership role at the state level. In 2005, the organization underwent a marketing study which prompted the agency to change its name to Child And Parent Services.
To ensure that CAPS is making the greatest impact on the Elkhart Community, a plan was implemented to provide a measurable way to show how much the community really does care about children. The vision CAPS is providing to Elkhart is named Vision 2020 and it serves as a tool to bring the Elkhart Community together to help create and encourage safe, stable and nurturing families for all of the children of Elkhart County. The goal of Vision 2020 is to successfully decrease the number of child abuse or neglect cases by 30% by the year 2020. It takes an entire community to provide children with the childhood they deserve and CAPS is thrilled to get all of Elkhart County on board with this vision.
What programs does CAPS offer?
Our first program was a crisis nursery for stressed out parents. The nursery, established in 1981 provided a safe haven for children, and later changed its focus to treat young victims of abuse in a therapeutic day care setting. In the early 1980's the juvenile court identified a need for trained volunteer advocates known as Court Appointed Special Advocates or CASA's that could help the court determine what was best for abused and neglected children. In 1985, CAPS saw a need and started developing and offering parenting classes. Often these classes were court ordered as part of a treatment program. The Parent Aide program was established to work with families in the home to provide positive parenting strategies and connection to community resources. In 1989, another United Way commissioned study identified a fragmented system for interviewing physically and sexually abused children. Thus, the Child and Family Advocacy Center (CFAC) opened in 1991 to provide a safe place to conduct forensic interviews. Supervised Visitation was another service started in response to a need identified by welfare and court officials to provide a safe place for children to visit birth parents or the non-custodial parent. In 1994, a unique partnership was developed with the state to develop the Healthy Families Elkhart County program. This program was launched to help overwhelmed parents, identified at the time of their child's birth, and provides support services until the child starts school.
How is CAPS funded?
CAPS is a United Way agency, and receives approximately 2.3 percent of its support from United Way. In addition, CAPS receives about 55 percent of its support from various local and state grants. The remainder of our funding comes from fund raising events including the Superhero 5K, summer auction and the RoofSit Against Child Abuse. We also receive support from many individuals, corporations, foundations, service clubs, churches and other organizations. CAPS relies heavily on the generous support of the Elkhart County community for its operating budget. In 1998, CAPS set up its own Endowment Fund. CAPS has also established an endowment fund with the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. The purpose of both funds is to provide resources for continuing prevention programs.
How many are employed at CAPS?
CAPS has 90 full and part time employees. We have a diverse staff including social workers, teachers, development and administrative personnel. In addition, we have over 110 volunteers, with the largest number of volunteers in our CASA program. We also have a number of high school volunteers from area schools. We utilize an extensive number of interns from Goshen College, IUSB, Bethel College, Western Michigan, Notre Dame and other schools.
Where is CAPS housed?
Since 1995 CAPS has been housed in the Joy Rose Center at 1000 W. Hively Ave., Elkhart. The building has approximately 20,000 square feet, and sits on 7.6 acres of land. CAPS owns the building debt free. In 2012, CAPS opened an office in Goshen. The office is located at 320 N. Chicago Ave., and houses three teams from CAPS' Health Families program.
How is CAPS governed?
CAPS is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors of 19 people who represent a cross-section of Elkhart County residents. Board members can serve two, three year terms. Committees carry out much of the work of the Board. An Advisory Board for the Exchange Club Center for Prevention of Child Abuse assists CAPS with fundraising and community support.
Want to know more?
Download a PDF copy of the latest CAPS Annual Report.