Need: Before 2000, Butte and southwest Montana had around 1,300 cases of child abuse a year, with only a 20% conviction rate for perpetrators of sexual abuse.
Intervention: Multiple agencies in the community came together to address the issue of child abuse by forming the Butte Child Evaluation Center (CEC), a Children's Advocacy Center.
Results: During a 3-year grant cycle, over 200 interviews and exams were performed on victims of sexual abuse and the Butte CEC became the first program in Montana to be accredited by the National Children's Alliance.
Before 2000, the Child
and Family Services Division (CFSD) of Butte had an
average of 1,300 cases of child abuse a year. They had a
low conviction rate for perpetrators of child sexual
abuse (around 20%), and there were 220 registered sexual
and violent offenders in Butte, a large number for a
community of 33,000.
In order to address the issue of child sexual abuse in
Butte and southwest Montana, multiple organizations came
together under the Southwest Montana Community
Health Center to create the Butte Child Evaluation
St. James Healthcare
Early Head Start
School District #1
Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement
Silver Bow County attorney's
The Butte CEC serves as a trauma-informed responsive
agency that provides a one-stop shop for victims of child
abuse and their non-offending caregiver.
The Butte CEC offers several components to address the
problem of child abuse:
Education of local groups and school administrators
on signs of child abuse, interventions by CEC, and
Parent education on child abuse prevention and
Addresses vicarious and secondary trauma in
professions that assist victims of trauma.
Clinical Evaluation and Therapy:
Butte CEC performed forensic interviews and forensic
medical exams on suspected victims of abuse including
sexual abuse, physical abuse, drug endangered children,
witnesses to violence, internet crimes against children,
and neglect in a 6-county area.
On-site trauma therapy for the victim and the
non-offending care provider was offered.
Work closely with CFSD for
foster care and transitional planning meetings,
specifically with their mental health providers.
A goal of Butte CEC is to provide a place that will take
care of all the victim's needs on-site. This limits the
amount of times the traumatic experience needs to be
recounted for different providers and law-enforcement
The Butte CEC provides access to victim advocacy for
all children and families that come to the Center.
The Butte CEC Victim Advocates collaborates with
Victim Advocate in the County Attorney's office.
The Butte Center for Child Evaluation has provided:
Over 200 forensic interviews and exams in 2021
Increased prosecution rates for perpetrators of
sexual abuse in the area
Increased number of children and families in the
community provided with therapy and case management
Increased number of children witnessed using safety
skills taught in school programs
2 satellite clinics, 1 in
Anaconda (30 miles from Butte) and 1 in Dillon (60 miles
Butte CEC became the first program in Montana to be
accredited by the National
Children's Alliance. In 2017, the Center received
re-accreditation under supervised guidelines. The Center
is 1 of 10 Accredited Child Advocacy Centers in Montana.
The director serves as the training chair for the
Children's Alliance of Montana and works closely with
directors from other centers to ensure training needs of
the CACs in Montana are met.
In 2018, Butte CEC celebrated its 20-year anniversary.
The Center uses nationally-recognized models and
curriculum to guide their practices, which played a part
in making it a success. Other sites wishing to replicate
this program may be interested in these models. The Butte
Butte CEC has been NCA accredited since 2007 and has
served as a model to help other child advocacy programs
in Montana become accredited.
Former Director Michelle Miller was instrumental in
bringing evidenced-based care to the state and, in doing
so, has made Butte CEC a success. She is now working for
the National Children's Alliance coordinating mental
health projects for NCA.
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information
about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The
programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural
community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s
needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep
in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.