Crisis Services and the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at BestSelf have a new co-location model that includes a Crisis Services Domestic Violence Case Manager at the CAC. The new manager will fill a critical role in coordinating care for those affected by domestic violence and abuse.

“Adverse traumatic childhood experiences can disrupt daily living, children’s health, and how they interact socially. The CAC’s goal is to ensure that children live in safe environments,” said CAC at BestSelf Director Rebecca Stevens. Stevens said statistics confirm that children living in a home with domestic violence are 1,500 times more likely to be abused.

Thus, having such a manager present at the CAC helps to ensure a higher level of care for children and families who are victims of abuse. The case manager will also help identify and link adults affected by abuse to critical support and case management services. It will increase their safety, reduce barriers to connecting with community resources, and assist with criminal justice and civil legal processes.

This new model removes the responsibility for adult victims to access case management support services by providing a coordinated community response right at the CAC, where their children’s needs are being addressed. Survivors who receive these services are more likely to experience improved safety. They are also more likely to follow through with meetings, engage with law enforcement, and/or attend court appearances.

Ashley Amidon, program supervisor of the Advocate Department (AD), says this is an important step in their relationship with the CAC, helping to coordinate care and interrupt cycles of violence within families. Jessica Pirro, president and CEO of Crisis Services, says that partnering with the CAC and BestSelf in a holistic approach to domestic violence prevention helps bridge gaps in the community.

Crisis Services AD provides comprehensive survivors services to individuals who are victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, family violence, and/or elder abuse. The AD is also Erie County’s designated Rape Crisis Center, available 24/7 via a hotline at 716-834-3131. Crisis Services is also a first responder to anyone struggling with mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, thoughts of suicide, or a victim of domestic or sexual violence. Visit

The CAC is a comprehensive center that provides a safe and supportive place of healing for children and families affected by abuse in Erie County. CAC partners include law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, child protective services, medical professionals, mental health counselors, and victim advocates.

BestSelf is the largest community-based behavioral health organization in WNY, providing care for children and adults with mental health and substance use disorders. BestSelf offers a full continuum of person-centered, trauma-informed behavioral health treatment, rehabilitation, and recovery services. Services are high quality, effective, accessible, and culturally sensitive, with the goal to promote self-sufficiency, wellness and recovery, and an enhanced quality of life for children and adults.

The new initiative is made possible by the Garman Foundation, administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. Learn more about BestSelf at, or call 716-884-0888.