Frequently Asked Questions


What is child abuse?

The definition of child abuse varies slightly from state to state. Generally speaking, a child is abused when they are mistreated in some way that either resulted in the child being harmed or injured, or if the mistreatment could result in the child being harmed or injured. In Wisconsin, child abuse is generally divided into categories of physical, sexual, emotional, or neglect.


Who does Willow Tree serve?

Any child who is a suspected victim of abuse or neglect can be served by Willow Tree Child Advocacy Center in collaboration with our local law enforcement and/or Child Protective Services.


What are the ages of the children served by Willow Tree?

We see children of all ages, many ethnic backgrounds, both girls and boys. The average age of a child abuse victim served by Willow Tree is 8 years old.


What is Willow Tree's relationship with Child Protective Services?

Willow Tree has a collaborative relationship with Brown County Child Protective Services and many of our neighboring counties. While our staff are specially trained to provide the child forensic interview, medical evaluations, and counseling services, Child Protective Workers work with the family to develop a safety plan and ensure that the family's basic needs are being met.


Do children live at the Child Advocacy Center?

No, children do not live at Willow Tree. They come to the Child Advocacy Center for forensic interviews, a medical exam or evaluation and/or counseling, but no one actually resides in the facility.


How is Willow Tree Child Advocacy Center funded?

Willow Tree is funded primarily through private donations, with supplemental support from the state and county. We partner with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin for medical services which bills insurance, Medical Assistance, or the client. Therapy services bill insurance or Medical Assistance, with a sliding fee scale available. The forensic interview, advocacy and prevention education services are provided to families free of charge.


How can I tell if a child is being abused?

It’s important to remember that warning signs are just that – warning signs. The presence of warning signs doesn’t necessarily mean that a child is being abused. The children who do display warning signs will vary greatly from one another; some children may display multiple signs while others may display no warning signs at all. Some common warning signs include:


Physical Abuse




Sexual Abuse


How do I make a report of suspected abuse?

Reports of suspected child abuse or neglect should be made to the county where the child or the child's family resides. In Brown County, call the Department of Human Services at 920-448-6000. (Click here for a map of other Wisconsin counties.) Reports can also be made to your local law enforcement office.


What if I'm not sure a child is being abused?

You should report any reasonable suspicion of abuse; you do not have to prove it. If you suspect a child has been abused, phone your local Child Protective Services office to discuss your concerns.


How do I protect my child from being abused?

As parents and community members, everyone plays a role in protecting children from all forms of abuse. The following steps can help you protect your child and lower the risks for child abuse.


Minimize Opportunity


Talk About It!


Stay Alert



For more information or to discuss any of the topics addressed above, please call us at 920-436-8881.