Sylvia’s Child Advocacy Center Advocates for All of Boone County’s Children

Posted: 1/24/22

It is important for residents to know that Boone County has established reputable behavioral health, addiction recovery and other related organizations that are available to ALL of Boone County’s residents. It is also important folks know about Sylvia’s Child Advocacy Center (Sylvia’s CAC), which advocates for the county’s children who are victims of abuse and exploitation.

What Is Sylvia’s Child Advocacy Center?

In October 1965, Sylvia Likens died from what one sheriff described as “Indiana’s most terrible crime.” Sylvia’s Child Advocacy Center is dedicated to her memory and to the cause of protecting children from abuse—physical, mental and sexual—throughout Boone County.

Sylvia’s CAC is governed by a board of directors and is an accredited 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported by contributions from the county’s communities. Sylvia’s CAC earned its national accreditation in 2020 from the National Children’s Alliance.

Sylvia’s CAC’s mission is to reduce trauma to a child victim of abuse by allowing them to tell their story in a safe, comfortable and child-focused environment with a trained forensic interviewer who will ask age-appropriate and nonleading questions. The child’s responses are recorded on discreet cameras for use by investigators. Additionally, the board of directors and staff at Sylvia’s CAC assist nonoffending caregivers through the court system, offer mental and medical health referrals and stand by nonoffending caregivers and kids. Whether a case begins or ends in court, Sylvia’s CAC is “the end of the beginning.”

Child abuse and child exploitation do not discriminate. Boone County’s income distribution and the fact that it is one of the state’s fastest-growing counties does not make it immune to such atrocities. Child abuse, assault and neglect occur in every neighborhood, regardless of the population, demographics and family status.

County officials and law enforcement know from cases like Jared Fogle’s and other recent arrests that all six of the county’s communities are battling this specific brand of evil.

When a child is abused, either for the first time or on numerous occasions, prosecutors need to understand what transpired, which Sylvia’s CAC assists with through forensic interviews. More importantly, the child and their nonoffending caregivers need help and care. That care may come in the form of counseling, mental health, physical health examinations, guidance through the court system or an extra backpack or set of clothes for tomorrow.

The child’s multidisciplinary team of law enforcement, prosecutor’s office, child protective services, the mental health provider and victim advocate work together to shepherd the child and his or her family toward the first steps of healing.

One of Boone County’s Champions of Children

Kassie Frazier, MSW, LSW, is Sylvia’s CAC’s executive director and a champion for the county’s children.

Frazier received her bachelor’s degree in social work in 2001 and her master’s degree in 2014 from Indiana University School of Social Work. She has been a licensed social worker in the State of Indiana since 2010.

Frazier was an employee at Indiana United Methodist Children’s Home for 10 years. During her time there, she served as a child care worker and as a therapist. Frazier serves as Sylvia’s CAC’s main forensic interviewer.

Kassie Frazier

Since coming on as Sylvia’s CAC’s executive director, Frazier has implemented prevention programs in all three Boone County school corporations. Sylvia’s CAC currently funds these prevention programs for Lebanon and Zionsville school districts, and these programs address all areas that may impact a child, including sports and other extracurricular situations. This year, Western Boone Community schools (WEBO) self-funded the prevention programs offered through Sylvia’s CAC and its child advocacy partners.

“Initially, CACs started out in Wisconsin and Michigan areas, and they filtered out through the rest of the U.S.,” Frazier shared. “CACs initially were established for sexual abuse cases, and the advocates and investigators wanted a place where a child could tell their version of what happened, have all the questions and answers recorded for all the different disciplines working on that case. As time has gone on, we’ve found that a lot of traumatic events happen to children that are not necessarily sexual abuse [cases], but the children benefit from having a forensic interview at a CAC.”

Frazier continued, “The child benefits not only from the standpoint of the interview being less traumatic because it’s with a social worker, but the protocols allow the child to get to know the interviewer and how we ask questions so that the child feels more comfortable giving their complete version without any ‘leading’ from the social worker.”

Sylvia’s CAC helps children who have witnessed traumatic events such as shootings, abuse, etc., get the medical help—if necessary—and the emotional help they need.

“This type of [forensic] interview allows the children to give a lot more detail about what they saw,” Frazier said. “It also allows us to identify what services are needed and to start those services immediately.”

Collaborative Teamwork Within the County

According to Frazier, Sylvia’s CAC has mental health agreements with Integrative Wellness (InWell), Aspire Indiana, Cummins Behavioral Health and The Cabin Counseling and Resource Center.

“We have a victim advocate that meets with the child after an interview, and they will administer an ‘ACE’ exam to see what their adverse childhood experience score is,” Frazier stated. “If they are high in the trauma area, we will refer them to a trauma-based specialist/therapist, and we have every level of therapists for whatever works best for the child so that we can get the child started on the path to healing.”

Sylvia’s CAC is responsible for gathering as much evidence as possible throughout the interview to ensure that the child is telling the truth and that the evidence collected follows the established protocols so that it is admissible in court should that child’s case go before a judge and/or jury.

“We also help if there are housing issues and the child must leave the home,” Frazier said. “We also use our connections with the humane society for foster placement if the child has pets until we figure out what’s going to happen next with the child. There are lots of different links that we have with other service providers within Boone County to ensure that we doing what is best for that child and their families.”

For more information on Sylvia’s CAC, services provided and how you can help, visit