TRAUMA ASSESSMENT, INTERVENTION and TREATMENT SERVICES
Strongly committed to excellence in service, the Council’s clinical programs are designed based on best practice and evidence-based research and are delivered by trained specialists in the field. Ongoing evaluation of our services which includes an emphasis on research and consultation with expert advisors in the field helps to keep us accountable to our clients and to our community, on top of emerging best practice in the field, and on target with our commitment to excellence in service – providing the best care possible. We believe children and youth who have suffered sexual victimization or other maltreatment deserve nothing less from us and from their communities.
The Community Child Abuse Council offers two assessment and treatment programs:
Children and Youth Trauma Services (CYTS)
- Outreach, Assessment and Specialized Intervention Services (OASIS)
Children and Youth Trauma Services (CYTS)
This program offers comprehensive assessment and specialized treatment as follows:
For children and youth up to age 18 who have been sexually victimized: when a child under the age of 16 has been sexually victimized, it must be reported to one of the Children’s Aid Societies. Participation in the CYTS program requires verification of sexual abuse for children under the age of 16.
- For children under age 12 who have sexually victimized other children: these children are engaged in concerning sexualized behaviour that falls outside what would normally be expected or appropriate at this age and stage of development (e.g. language or games with adult sexual themes, adult sexual behaviours directed towards other children). We provide comprehensive assessments in an attempt to determine the factors that have contributed to the problematic behaviours, to identify any resulting disruptions in sexual development, and to provide recommendations for treatment.
- For sibling sexual abuse where both children are under the age of 12: siblings may be biological, half, step, adoptive, or foster siblings. Consistent with best practice and to ensure all children are in a stable and safe living arrangement, siblings will not reside together for the period of the assessment. We work cooperatively with the family and potentially with other involved agencies to ensure the children can be appropriately separated for at least the assessment period.
Family involvement and safety planning is an integral part of the assessment process. An accurate and comprehensive assessment is the cornerstone of the treatment process. Without it, interventions can be misguided and ultimately ineffective.
Every child and youth, and their non-offending parents/caregivers who come to us for service engage in a comprehensive assessment. Recommendations for intervention and/or treatment flow from that assessment.
The assessment takes a holistic perspective in which all aspects of the child’s functioning are examined. The purpose of the assessment is to determine the impact of the trauma/abuse and identify a child’s strengths and potential resiliency factors. The assessment is a process of gathering information in different ways from different sources. Usually, the child participates in one to three interview sessions and the completion of questionnaires where appropriate.
Assessment of the child and his/her experiences is done in the context of that child’s family, involving and seeking the perceptions of parents and caregivers. Assessing the nature of parent-child relationships is a very important part of the process. Parents or caregivers participate in interviews to provide their perceptions of a child’s current functioning in several areas, including family life, school, social, emotional, and of course the trauma the child experienced. In addition, parents and caregivers are asked to complete questionnaires about the child’s functioning.
In some cases, we may ask for other family members to be involved to help us better understand the child and the impact of the trauma. Often it is necessary to get official documentation about the trauma from other involved professionals. These can include child welfare agencies, police, and physicians. However, no information is obtained without the parent and/or youth’s written permission.
Assessment in the area of child sexual victimization is complex and demands a specialized approach. There is no “off the shelf” program that can provide for or meet the unique needs of these child and youth victims and their families. We do know, however, what makes for effective assessment programs and it is these known components – best practices – that form the basis of the CYTS program.
Not every child needs extensive …[Gilles, will continue from here in my next email to you…not done yet]