The Carousel Center – Our History and Accreditation


Before the existence of The Carousel Center, children who were victims of abuse were sent to their local emergency room where they were just one patient–usually in a sea of many.  They were expected to recount their abuse events to multiple people at multiple locations. This experience was both traumatic for the child and created a host of problems in the criminal investigation. They had to endure the frantic pace of emergency rooms, the unfamiliar stares of medical professionals and frightening physical exams—all of this in addition to the trauma they had just experienced.  Importantly, hospitals in our area did not have the time, the specific equipment  nor the certified staff to examine these critical cases such that evidence is neither overlooked, nor compromised. This isn’t a  job for standard emergency room physicians and nurses.

The founders of the Carousel Center, a multi-disciplinary team of key community professionals; Wilmington Junior League, New Hanover Regional Medical Center Emergency Department, local counties’ Dept of Social Services, District Attorney’s offices, and the Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons, created, based on the Child Advocacy Model, a child-friendly solution where the child and their family receive support, crisis intervention and referrals to crucial services.

In January, 2000, the Carousel Center opened its doors and has become an indispensable community resource to help child abuse survivors, their families, investigative partners for justice, ultimately with the goal to reduce the impact of trauma to child victims. By giving every child who has experienced abuse the opportunity to resiliently heal themselves and their families, returning to as close to a pre-abuse path of natural development as possible. The greatest hope and goal are to return the child back to childhood. Today, TCC is the only accredited Child Advocacy Center in our region, and serves Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties. We have locations in New Hanover and Brunswick Counties to better serve children, their family and our partners closer to home.

How does a Child Advocacy Center Work?


Obtaining and documenting a child’s report of an alleged sexual and/or physical abuse incident is crucial- not only for prosecution purposes but also for healing and recovery.

TCC’s primary services are: child forensic interviews, NC-rostered child medical evaluations (CMEs), comprehensive family advocacy, high-quality child trauma therapy for child victims & their non-offending adult caregivers. TCCs Trauma Therapy efforts provide quality therapy services for child victims, their non-offender, adult caregivers and their siblings.

A successful TCC means increases in child abuse investigations that lead to formal charges against an identified perpetrator, where evidence warrants, and increases in child abuse perpetrators being held criminally liable for their actions.  Child survivors will demonstrate health & well-being indicators (better school success, less physical/mental health symptomology, less juvenile justice engagement, stronger family units) when successfully engaged and graduated from treatment services.

The goal is for each child to share what he/she is able to share at one time, in one place. We also staff trained medical professionals who perform complete, head-to-toe, medical examinations in a nurturing and supportive environment.  See what we do page for more information

Our Accreditation

The Carousel Center is an Accredited Member of the National Children's Alliance

In December, 2020, The Carousel Center was awarded re-accreditation by National Children’s Alliance following an extensive application and site review process. As the accrediting agency for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) across the country, National Children’s Alliance awards various levels of accreditation and membership to centers responding to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first. Accreditation is the highest level of membership with National Children’s Alliance and denotes excellence in service provision.

Accredited CACs must undergo a re-accreditation process every five years to ensure that best practices are continually being applied. With accreditation standards being updated in 2010, re-accreditation this year reflects The Carousel Center’s commitment to providing evidence-based methods practice.

National Children’s Alliance awards Accredited Membership based on a CAC’s compliance with 10 national standards of accreditation to ensure effective, efficient and consistent delivery of services to child abuse victims. Accredited Members must utilize a functioning and effective Multidisciplinary Team approach to work collaboratively in child abuse investigation, prosecution, and treatment. National Children’s Alliance also considers standards regarding a center’s cultural competency and diversity, forensic interviews, victim support and advocacy, medical evaluation, therapeutic intervention, and child focused setting.

National Children’s Alliance is the national association and accrediting body for the 777 Children’s Advocacy Centers and 49 State Chapters serving each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first, National Children’s Alliance provides support and advocacy to its accredited membership, as well as numerous developing centers, multidisciplinary teams and child abuse professionals around the country, and the world. As the national authority on multidisciplinary approaches to supporting child victims of abuse, the purpose of National Children’s Alliance is to empower local communities to provide comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse. Founded in 1990, National Children’s Alliance provides accreditation opportunities, financial assistance, training, technical assistance, research and education to communities, child abuse professionals and children’s advocacy centers throughout the United States in support of child abuse intervention, advocacy and prevention.