Research supported treatment methods help children, adolescents and their families go beyond physical recovery, to cope effectively with the social and psychological aftermath of abuse and violence.
Child traumatic stress occurs when children and teens are exposed to traumatic events that overwhelm their ability to cope. We all experience stress in our lives, but living with abuse, neglect or family violence can overwhelm a child, interfering with their ability to function in daily life and damaging their trust and relationships. Without help, these abusive and traumatic experiences of childhood increase the risk for many types of diseases (including heart disease and diabetes) and for emotional and behavior problems that affect children long into their adult years.
Children who have been abused often suffer from anxiety, fearfulness, depression, disturbed sleep, nightmares or sexualized behavior. They may internalize their feelings and withdraw, or externalize their emotional pain and confusion in disobedience, defiance, aggression, poor school performance or substance abuse. Children who witness violence, especially in their own homes, often suffer very similar emotional and behavioral problems as those who are directly abused.
For The Child offers assessment and specialized therapy for these children and advocacy support with court system participation. We work closely with families, law enforcement, child welfare, Victim Witness advocates, pediatricians and schools to create a strong circle of safety and support that encourages resiliency and hope as children recover.
For The Child provides longer and more intensive treatment for children and teens with severe or complex trauma resulting from repeated sexual abuse, multiple abuse incidents, child abduction, or fatal family and community violence.
Services are funded by private donations, grants and Victim of Crime funds. We are dedicated to serving child crime victims and vulnerable children without other resources for professional counseling and support. With the help of private donors, our safety net program meets the needs of children who will not get help any other way. All services are offered in Spanish and English.
Jennifer was close to her Grandfather and would do anything to make him happy. She felt confused about the sexual things Grandpa did to her, but he told her that he loved her and that if she told anyone, he would go to jail and break up the family. She finally told her Mom, who called the police. DNA evidence proved that he had abused her. Jennifer came to therapy for several months to sort out all the confusion and emotional pain that sexual abuse creates. At first Jennifer was scared, cried a lot, and felt guilty and sad. Her grades took a real nose dive in school. Her therapist spent counseling time with Mom and Grandmother, rebuilding the broken trust in the family and helping the adults learn how to emotionally support Jennifer. The district attorney talked with Jennifer, explaining what would happen with Grandfather and what to expect in court. Jennifer was afraid to testify, and the District Attorney asked her therapist to come to court with her for support. Now Jennifer is sleeping well, doing well in school, feels happier again, and has a much better understanding about sexual abuse and her Grandfather’s responsibility for abusing her. She is likely to need more therapy in a few years when she becomes a teenager, when body changes, hormones and dating stir up more feelings and thoughts about her abuse. For The Child will be there for her if she needs us.