The Board of Directors Blueprint

The Board of Directors Blueprint course is an online training offering from Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center (SRCAC). This self-guided course was designed specifically for those who serve on a Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) board of directors. The content for these modules was developed by the staff of SRCAC who regularly consult with and train CAC boards of directors to facilitate strategic planning, resolve conflict, and explore ways for boards to be successful and well-functioning, which in turn positively affects outcomes for children and families.

The Board of Directors Blueprint course comprises four modules that can be viewed separately or as whole. The modules include:

  • Overview of the CAC Model
  • Roles and Responsibilities of the Board of Directors
  • Hiring, Supporting, and Evaluating the Executive Director
  • Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Traumatic Stress

Through our extensive work with CAC boards of directors, SRCAC has seen these four main areas of focus emerge as being the most essential for board members to understand in order to have the most positive impact on the operations of their CACs.

The following briefly describes the contents of each module, the goal of each module, and what you can be expected to learn upon completion. Each self-guided module is approximately 30 minutes in length.

Module 1: The CAC Model

This module will teach participants about the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) model for assisting children who have been abused and their families. The course reviews the history and structure of CACs, how multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) work, and the challenges and benefits of the CAC model.

Goal: Participants will understand how the CAC model treats and helps children who have been abused and their families and provides a comparison to how the system worked prior to CACs.


  1. Participants can describe the structure of the CAC model.
  2. Participants can summarize the work of the MDT.
  3. Participants can describe challenges and benefits of the CAC model. 

Module 2: Hiring, Supporting, and Evaluating an Executive Director

This module will provide attendees guidance in their roles as board members of CACs in hiring, supporting and evaluating the Executive Director (ED) position. The Executive Director position at a CAC can be challenging in a variety of ways. Oftentimes, the ED may be the first director of a center or alternatively they may be replacing a long-time director. Should an internal or external interim director be hired? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each? The ED position is also responsible for many divergent functions from fundraising to operations and facilities management to supervising highly specialized services (mental health, medical, forensic interviewing) with which they may not have any direct experience. Boards of directors need to keep these factors in mind as they hire and manage this key position.

Goal: Participants will learn the major considerations when hiring, supporting, and evaluating an Executive Director.


  1. Participants can summarize the development of a comprehensive plan for hiring a new Executive Director.
  2. Participants can outline ways of supporting the work of the Executive Director.
  3. Participants can outline best practices regarding evaluating the Executive Director.

Module 3: Roles and Responsibilities

This module is designed to help new and experienced board members understand what is expected of them as members of a CAC board of directors. The module reviews some of the factors that differentiate CAC boards from other types of boards and the challenges that CAC boards face. Specific roles and responsibilities of CAC board members are discussed, along with helpful guiding principles and the habits of healthy boards. The module includes a board assessment tool that can be completed individually or as a group.

Goal: Participants will gain a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of members of the board of directors of a CAC.


  1. Participants can summarize the factors that differentiate CAC boards from other boards.
  2. Participants can outline the roles and responsibilities of members of the board of directors of a CAC.
  3. Participants can assess how well their boards are functioning or if their boards are underperforming.

Module 4: Vicarious Trauma and Secondary Traumatic Stress

This module will define vicarious trauma and secondary trauma stress and will focus on understanding how working with child abuse victims can adversely affect CAC professionals and what the board of directors can do to support the CAC staff and MDTs. If vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress are not addressed at an organizational level, the results may be high turnover, diminished services to children and families, fewer prosecutions of offenders, and so on.

Goal: Participants will know how work with child abuse victims can affect the professionals working in the CAC and how they, through their roles as board members, can support the staff.


  1. Participants can identify the effects of the exposure to trauma on child abuse professionals.
  2. Participants can outline ways to support the CAC staff and MDT through their roles as members of the board of directors.

How to Access the Board of Directors Blueprint

All four modules of the Blueprint are available free of charge to registered users through the NCAC Virtual Training Center (VTC) at

To become a registered user of the NCAC VTC:

It is quick and easy to create an account on the NCAC VTC by following these steps:

  1. Go to and click the Sign Up button.
  2. On the next screen, you will be asked for your name, email address, city/state, and job title/discipline/organization. You will also be asked to set up a password. After you enter this information, click Sign Up.
  3. Once signed in, go to the VTC Dashboard and type “Board of Directors Blueprint” in the Search box to access the Blueprint.

Access to the VTC will also enable you to view a variety of online NCAC training resources.


Already an NCAC VTC user?

Go to Board of Director Blueprint to sign in and launch the Board of Directors Blueprint.