Our Services


The State of Maryland has demonstrated its commitment to child wellbeing through mandating the establishment of Child Advocacy Centers throughout the state to facilitate working agreements between agencies responsible for responding to child maltreatment. Our CAC’s multidisciplinary team includes law enforcement officers, social workers, attorneys, medical professionals, and counselors through the Department of Social Services, State’s Attorney’s Office, Frederick Police Department, Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Maryland State Police, other municipal police departments, and Frederick County Government. Case reviews are held at least twice per month, providing a formal opportunity for these partners to share information and coordinate services to meet the needs of the children and families involved.

Our CAC is a department within the Citizens Services Division of Frederick County Government, and is funded through county funds, state and federal grants, and citizen donations. The CAC’s policies and procedures were written using the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) Standards for Accredited Members. Our facility was decorated and furnished by volunteer members and friends of a local non-profit 501(c)3 organization, the Friends of the CAC. 
Staff members include:
Lynn Davis, Director
Kristen Dunn, Forensic Interviewer
Athena Edsall, Administrative Specialist V

Pamela Holtzinger, Forensic Nurse Examiner
Karla Paylor, Behavioral Developmental Pediatrician

Meaghan Tarquinio, Family Advocate
Jennifer Veith, Child and Family Counselor




The Child Advocacy Center of Frederick County (CAC) provides a physically and emotionally safe, comfortable, private setting for children and their non-offending family members to access services when maltreatment is suspected.  The location is secure, so only those children and families scheduled to come to the Center are allowed to enter.  We value diversity and strive to offer accessible services in culturally competent, respectful ways.  There is never a charge for services provided at the CAC.


Children coming to the CAC have the opportunity to tell their stories to professionals trained in child forensic interviewing protocols while family members and caregivers meet with the CAC Advocate to learn more about available services and supports.  Counseling (on-site or through referrals to other behavioral health providers) is offered as needed and medical examinations are available two days per week.


Forensic Interviews


The CAC offers a private room for children to talk to specially trained interviewers.  These interviews are conducted in a neutral manner, and are designed to be observed by other involved professionals through a video feed into an adjacent room.  This helps to avoid having more than one interviewer in the room with the child while also helping to prevent the need for multiple, duplicative interviews.   Regardless of whether the child is able to describe what has or has not happened, the CAC and its partners follow the Child First doctrine: 


The child is our first priority.

Not the needs of the family.

Not the child’s “story.”

Not the evidence.

Not the needs of the courts.

Not the needs of police, child protection, attorneys, etc.
The child is our first priority.  

Medical Evaluation

The CAC’s medical team is available two days per week to provide pediatric medical examination services for children between the ages of 0 – 17.  These examinations are scheduled at the recommendation of child protective services or law enforcement, or at the request of children and their families coming to the Center.  The medical team also provides expert consultation to members of the multidisciplinary team and other professionals on the physical and emotional consequences of child abuse and neglect.

Counseling Services

Trauma-informed counseling services are available for children and their non-offending caregivers at the CAC or through referral to other local providers.  Art, play, and cognitive modalities are all employed, with services matched to the needs of the individual.


The CAC employs a full time Advocate to support families through the investigation, prosecution, and healing processes.  The Advocate can help caregivers complete compensation paperwork, apply for needed benefits, or connect with other service providers, as well as accompany the child/family to court and coordinate services with other agencies.  Advocacy is always available to children and families who come through the CAC, whether help is needed next week or next year.  In terms of help linking to resources, we never close a case.