Nine-year-old Taylor* was a friendly girl. She performed well at school and enjoyed attending church with her family. But everything changed after Taylor was sexually abused by her uncle. She began avoiding others and spent many a Sunday morning crying in the church parking lot. Classrooms were unbearable, so Taylor’s parents withdrew her from school.
Trauma often impacts children’s behavior. Parents who are involved in the treatment process understand and respond better to these new behaviors.
“We help parents move from a ‘What’s wrong with you now?’ way of thinking to an informed ‘How can I help you today?’ mindset,” explained Roy Van Tassell, clinical supervisor of Child Abuse and Trauma Services at Family & Children’s Services. “The reality is that the therapist spends one or two hours a week with a client. The family is there the rest of the time to follow-up on the therapy.”
Family & Children’s Services began its Child Abuse and Trauma Services program in 1981. Both the program’s longevity and related patient outcomes prove its value to our community. Eighty percent of young abuse victims who complete treatment at Family & Children’s Services exhibit improved emotional stability. Eighty percent behave better and can function with more ease in social settings. Eighty-five percent of families report improved parent-child relationships after treatment.
Despite the evidence, division remains in society at large and within the therapeutic community about how to respond to the problem of child abuse. Family & Children’s Services is committed to a progressive, family-based approach centered on best practices.
“We’re equipped with state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatments that more accurately inform what we do. We more effectively target the trauma that kids experience and therefore engage families in a more strategic and effective way,” said Van Tassell.
After nearly 18 months – which included family treatment and group sessions with other pre-teen girls who’d been abused – Taylor completed therapy. She regained her confidence and returned to school and church. Taylor and her family no longer mourn the victim she was, but instead celebrate the survivor she’s become.
*name and image changed to protect client’s privacy