In 1989, a Children's Court Advisory Board was created to bring together professionals from diverse disciplines, along with caring citizens, to open up communication and provide education and awareness for the public to address the growing concern of child maltreatment. The group met monthly for 20 years, changing laws that affected children who had been abused, and developing and strengthening policies and protocols to better serve the needs of the community. As time went on, the group continued to expand, there was more community involvement, and the Walworth County Alliance for Children (WCAC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was formally established in 2009. On April 15, 2013, the Tree House, a standalone facility, opened its doors. The WCAC later changed its name to what is now known as Tree House Child and Family Center.
The primary focus of the Tree House is protecting children and stopping the cycle of abuse. This is accomplished by providing child abuse awareness, prevention, and education and training programs to the people of Walworth County. Those people may include children, families, schools, and community agencies. The Tree House also works to establish relationships with community partners, such as law enforcement, medical professionals, mental health professionals, educators, the district attorney's office, corporation counsel, child protective services, and more. The Tree House sponsors trainings that give these professionals the knowledge they need to collaborate when investigating and handling sensitive crimes.
The Tree House
The Tree House opened on April 15, 2013, thanks to amazing community support and the dedication and hard work of the members of Tree House Child and Family Center (formerly the Walworth County Alliance for Children or WCAC). The Tree House is the home of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's Walworth County Child Advocacy Center. The child advocacy center serves children and families of Walworth County with concerns for child abuse and neglect. The Tree House was designed to create a sense of safety and security for those children as well as their families. The Tree House is also child and family friendly, which is evident in the home-like setting, the family rooms with toys, video and board games, the two playgrounds, and the playhouse outside.