Child Advocacy Centers: Jane Barker
When Safe Horizon’s first Child Advocacy Center opened in Brooklyn, NY in 1996, it was largely thanks to the dedication and vision of one woman who wanted to ensure that child victims of abuse had a place where they would truly find healing, help, and justice.
Jane Barker (1949 – 2003) joined Safe Horizon in 1987. From the start, she championed a more thoughtful, personalized approach to helping victims, especially children. After founding Safe Horizon's Counseling Center in 1988, Jane turned her focus to helping children.
Studies showed that child abuse investigations often caused a child victim to suffer more trauma after the abuse, especially when the child had to repeat the account of the abuse to several different agencies. Jane wanted to reduce the trauma that child victims faced by providing a coordinated effort on behalf of the agencies that handled such investigations. Using the existing model of Child Advocacy Centers and with her passion and persistence, Jane founded Safe Horizon's first Child Advocacy Center in Brooklyn.
Jane Barker Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center
Jane became the Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center's first director. With its opening the center also became the nation's first to offer a multi-disciplinary practice in helping child abuse victims. Jane wanted the center to offer children and their caregivers the chance to meet all the different agencies that investigated child abuse, in a single location. This unique approach brought together representatives from the New York Police Department, the district attorneys’ offices, medical centers and hospitals, and child protective services to work with Safe Horizon's own expert clinical and counseling staff, coordinating their efforts to investigate child abuse cases and abusers, while giving children urgently-needed medical and mental health treatments.
Jane's pioneering efforts earned her the 1999 Professional Leadership Award from the National Children's Alliance. After Jane died in 2003, the Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center was renamed the Jane Barker Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center in her honor.
Today, the Jane Barker Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center is one of the nation's busiest locations, working with more than 2,000 child victims each year. It is also one of the few centers that consistently earns the highest national accreditation for Child Advocacy Centers every year, exemplifying Jane Barker’s wish that children who suffer abuse will always have the highest-quality expertise, care, and advocacy they deserve.
Safe Horizon Child Advocacy Centers: Timeline
- 1996 - The Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center opens in New York City, becoming the first fully co-located center in the nation.
- 1998 - The Staten Island Child Advocacy Center opens.
- 2003 - The Queens Child Advocacy Center opens.
- 2003 - The Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center becomes fully accredited by the National Child Advocacy Center Association.
- 2004 - The Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center is renamed the Jane Barker Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center in tribute to Jane Barker.
- 2006 - In the wake of the tragic death of Nixzmary Brown, the New York City Mayor’s Office asks Safe Horizon to open more co-located Child Advocacy Centers.
- 2006 - Safe Horizon leads the effort to include Child Advocacy Centers in the New York State laws governing response to child abuse and treatment of young victims.
- 2009 - The Manhattan Child Advocacy Center opens.
Child Abuse: Resources
Learn about Safe Horizon's Child Advocacy Centers and how Jane Barker's legacy continues to help child victims of abuse here.
Know of a child who is being or has been abused? Please contact child protection services for your city or state. In New York State, call 800.342.3720 or see a list of call centers for other states. In an emergency, please call 911.