Crisis Services and the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), at BestSelf Behavioral Health, Announce New “Co-Location Model”

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Crisis Services and the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), at BestSelf Behavioral Health, are excited to announce their new co-location model: a Crisis Services Domestic Violence Case Manager onsite at the CAC.

This pilot project, launched in October and supported by funds from the Garman Family Foundation, is important and innovative work. This funding fills a critical gap for families involved in family violence in our community. Adverse childhood experiences of trauma related to interpersonal violence can disrupt activities of daily living, childhood success and robust prosocial engagement in the community. If children are harmed in the home, it is possible their safe adult(s) are, too. “One of the goals of the Child Advocacy Center is ensuring children are living in safe environments,” says Rebecca Stevens, Director, Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf. “Statistics show that children living in homes with domestic violence are 1,500 times more likely to be abused. Having a domestic violence provider embedded at the CAC will allow us to provide a higher level of care to the children and families we serve.”

Having a Crisis Services Case Manager at the CAC will allow specialists to identify adult survivors and link them with critical support and case management services. The goal of case management services is to increase safety, reduce barriers in accessing community resources and assist victims in maintaining engagement in criminal justice and civil legal processes to increase positive outcomes that lead to successful and independent lives.

This new model will remove the onus from adult victims to access case management support services by providing a coordinated community response for a victim at the CAC building where their child(ren)’s needs are simultaneously being met. Survivors who link with case management and victim advocacy services are more likely to identify improved safety and follow through with meetings, engage with law enforcement, and/or attend court appearances.

“We are thrilled about co-locating a Case Manager, we see this as a vital next step in our long-standing partnership with the CAC” says Ashley Amidon, Program Supervisor, Advocate Department. “We know that by helping parents or guardians in our community with their own safety needs as related to domestic violence, we are ultimately increasing the safety of our children and have the potential to interrupt cycles of violence within families.”

Jessica Pirro, President and CEO of Crisis Services says “Building strategic partnerships that enhance crisis work is at the core of our mission. Partnering with the CAC and BestSelf Behavioral Health in a holistic approach to domestic violence prevention just makes sense and allows us each to focus on our mission while bridging gaps in the community. The longstanding partnership and collaboration of our two agencies dates back to the founding of the CAC in 1992. We are excited to join together as we enhance safety for those in need.”

A virtual press conference was held by Crisis Services, the CAC, and BestSelf Behavioral Health, January 24, 2022. This event will mark the official announcement of the pilot project; as well as showcase the dedicated work of the community partnership.

Crisis Services Advocate Department provides comprehensive survivors services to those who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, family violence and/or elder abuse. The Advocate Department is Erie County’s designated Rape Crisis Center and an OCFS approved non-residential domestic violence service provider. Service information and help is available 24/7 via our hotline: 716-834-3131.

Crisis Services is there for Western New Yorkers during the most difficult times in their lives. We are an ever present lifeline and the first responders to anyone in crisis: those struggling with mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, thoughts of suicide, as well as victims of domestic or sexual violence. We don’t stop at intervention. We proactively connect individuals in crisis and their families with education and prevention programs. Whether we meet someone at the beginning of a struggle or at its height, we save lives. To learn more, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The CAC is an innovative, comprehensive center offering safety, support and a healing place for children and families affected by abuse in Erie County. Our partner organizations include law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, child protective services, medical professionals, mental health counselors and victim advocates.

BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. is the largest community-based behavioral health organization serving children and adults with mental health and substance use disorders in WNY. We provide easy access to a full continuum of person-centered, trauma-informed behavioral health treatment, rehabilitation and recovery services. BestSelf focuses on delivering high quality, effective, accessible, and culturally-sensitive services to promote self-sufficiency, wellness and recovery, and an enhanced quality of life for children and adults.

For more than a century, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has enhanced and encouraged long-term philanthropy in the Western New York community. A 501 (c)(3) organization, the Community Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. Established in 1919, the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care. Learn more at