Mental health professionals in children's advocacy centers: Is there role conflict?

Theodore P. Cross, Janet E. Fine, Lisa M. Jones, Wendy A. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two recent chapters in professional books have criticized children's advocacy centers for creating role conflict for mental health professionals because of their work with criminal justice and child protection professionals in children's advocacy centers as part of a coordinated response to child abuse. This article argues that these critiques misunderstand children's advocacy center practice and overestimate the risk of role conflict. Children's advocacy center standards set a boundary between forensic interviewing and therapy, which in most children's advocacy centers are done by separate professionals and never by the same professional for a given child. Many mental health professionals serve children's advocacy centers as consultants with no treatment role. Children's advocacy center therapists are rarely involved in investigation, and their participation in multidisciplinary teams focuses on children's interests and well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-108
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • child abuse
  • child sexual abuse
  • children's advocacy centers
  • children's mental health professionals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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