The Terrie Hess House Child Advocacy Center

To maximize our mission to STOP child abuse in Rowan County, PCAR operates The Terrie Hess House Child Advocacy Center, a nationally-accredited child advocacy center established in 2005. Our facility provides a child-friendly environment for child victims of sexual and physical abuse (aged 0-17) and their non-offending caregivers.

Family/Victim Advocacy

Our family advocates play a key role in helping to support the child victim and the non-offending caregiver(s) throughout the investigation and prosecution of the case. The job of the family advocate is to listen and support in whatever way possible and to seek out information and resources. By working directly with the non-offending caregiver(s), the family advocate ensures that all of the family's needs are being met, both those that are related to the alleged abuse and any other services they may need assistance with. To that end, the family advocates also aid in setting up therapy and other services the child needs.

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Forensic Interview

A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child intended to elicit detailed information about a possible event(s) that the child may have experienced or witnessed. A forensic interview is conducted between one child and a forensic interview specialist who is knowledgeable in child development. This interview is audio and video recorded in an effort to ensure that the child need only tell their story once to reduce reoccurrence of trauma.

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Mental Health Intervention

Your Family Advocate can provide referral information to a local therapist in the community or to a therapist located at the Terrie Hess House. The counselors are trained to provide trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), which is designed to meet the unique needs of children and their non-offending family members. The model has been studied in several randomized, clinical trials and has demonstrated superior efficacy in reducing traumatized children's emotional or behavioral problems. The process is designed to elicit thoughts, feelings, and sensations related to the traumatic experience to allow children to process what has happened to them and give them the opportunity to address any distorted thoughts about the experience.

For more information on this treatment method, please go to

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Medical Evaluation

Medical evaluations conducted at The Terrie Hess House are conducted by health care providers with pediatric experience and child abuse expertise. These evaluations consist of general exams to ensure that the child is in good health and has suffered no significant injury as a result of their alleged abuse. Not all children who receive other services at The Terrie Hess House will receive a medical exam. Whether a medical exam is conducted will be determine dbased upon the individual child's medical needs. We do not have 24 hour/7 day a week coverage for medical evaluations. Rather, child victims of abuse who need immediate medical attention should be taken to the nearest emergency facility or you should call 911.

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Meet Murphy, the Terrie Hess House therapy dog!

Murphy is a rescue dog, adopted from the Rowan County Animal Shelter in July 2019. He and his handler have completed extensive training in preparation for working full-time as a therapy team with children at our facility. Murphy will support children recovering from abuse through the services at the Terrie Hess House. His warm greeting and comforting presence can reduce the fear or anxiety that a child may experience, and remind them that they are not alone.

Our therapy dog program was developed and is maintained with the support and supervision of Nina Dix, Certified Dog Trainer & Behaviorist. Murphy is a Canine Good Citizen through the American Kennel Club and a certified therapy dog with Canine Caregivers Therapy Dogs, NC.

Murphy is generously sponsored by Doggie Holiday Boarding & Training, Rowan Animal Clinic, Uptown Dogs & Cats, and one of our own Prevent Child Abuse Rowan Board Members.


No-cost Services

All services are provided at absolutely no cost to the client or their families. We serve all children aged 0-17 regardless of their race, religion, gender, gender identity, or socio-economic background.

These services are provided in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment that involves members of all local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies operating in Rowan County, the Rowan County Dept. of Social Services, the Rowan County District Attorney's Office, the Rowan-Salisbury School System, the Rowan County Guardian ad-Litem Office, and many other investigatory and support agencies.

The Terrie Hess House was accredited by National Children's Alliance in 2012, recognizing it as a best-practices facility. The Center was re-accredited in 2017.