Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $475,000)
The Addressing Sexual Abuse by Youth (A-SABY) project focuses on the development and implementation of an evidence informed approach and framework for identifying and addressing the needs of children with sexual behavior problems and adolescents who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior and their families in Memphis and Shelby County, Tennessee. The project also involves community providers and agencies serving victims and their families. The overarching goals of the project are prevention of sexual abuse and supporting community safety through an evidence informed system. This includes collaboration across involved agencies (investigative, court, treatment, victim advocates). The project aims to develop effective response strategies, establish evidence informed agreed upon protocols, utilize strengths-based supervision plans, provide quality evidence informed assessment and community-based treatment services, ensure services are consistent with the youth's needs and increase available services. The project includes working with agencies providing services to victims (e.g., Memphis Child Advocacy Center) including jointly developing strategies and approaches to address sibling abuse. A multi-disciplinary advisory group will assist in identifying assets, resources, needs, challenges and barriers as well as assist in identifying solutions and providing recommendations. This group will include representation of key stakeholders including Juvenile Court, Tennessee Department of Children's Services, Memphis Child Advocacy Center, the community, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, TennCare Bureau (Tennessee's Medicaid program), and treatment providers, among others. The efforts towards an evidence informed system, including increasing evidence informed services available to children with sexual behavior problems and adolescents who have engaged in sexually abusive behavior, will include, but not be limited to training, ongoing clinical consultation, technical assistance, support in developing related policies and procedures, development of protocols and development and sharing of resource material. The project recognizes the importance of family engagement and involvement, the value of a strength-based approach and the need to address individualized issues (e.g., trauma, adverse childhood experiences). Cultural considerations will be a focus across both aspects the project (system and services). Memphis' population is approximately 64% Black, 26% White/Non-Hispanic and 7% Hispanic and there are several high poverty zip code/areas. A specialist in cultural issues who is also experienced in working with this population of youth will provide training and consultation to the project. The A-SABY project will develop an evidence informed system response that utilizes a strengths-based, trauma-informed, culturally sensitive, needs approach for addressing the issue of sexual abuse by youth and children with sexual behavior problems.