Montgomery Child Advocacy Project’s (MCAP) mission is to end and prevent child abuse and neglect in Montgomery County through legal services, advocacy, and education.
â€œMCAPs,â€ as they are known throughout Montgomery County, are professional attorneys who volunteer their time to advocate for child victims of abuse, neglect, and trafficking in the courts and social services agencies. MCAP (the organization) trains them to represent children in all the legal arenas in Montgomery County, and processes all of their background checks and clearances. MCAP then assigns them to cases referred to us by the District Attorney, the courts, the Public Defender, Mission Kids (forensic interviewer), or law enforcement.
While not a complete list, some of what MCAPs do for their child clients includes:
We currently have 60 trained and dedicated volunteer attorney advocates on our roster who donate approximately 7,400 hours each year to the children we serve.
Advocacy and education are critical components of MCAP’s mission. Through our work building partnerships and coalitions and delivering programs in our community, we are helping to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of child abuse, and educating lawyers, law enforcement, parents, youth-serving professionals, and the general public on child abuse laws and resources available for families. Current programs:
The catalyst for MCAP was an eight-year-old girl who had to testify on the stand about the sexual abuse she suffered from her mother’s boyfriend. Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy and Judge Risa Vetri Ferman, both prosecutors at the time, were in the courtroom and saw this young girl complete her testimony. She then walked bravely past her abuser, her unsupportive mother, and a courtroom packed with strangers to take her seat all alone. After years of witnessing this scenario over and over again, our pioneers decided that this would be the last time. Along with the help of Marc R. Steinberg, Esq., they were able to get the support of the Montgomery Bar Association and the Court of Common Pleas to incorporate as a nonprofit and MCAP was born. Committed to MCAP, Marc was the first MCAP child advocate and President of the MCAP Board of Trustees.
Since our founding in 2004, MCAP child advocates have provided free legal services to more than 9,000 children in approximately 6,400 cases. While we strive to end child abuse through education and advocacy, sadly we know our work will continue, especially in light of the opioid crisis, mental health challenges, and housing and food insecurities for families.