Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $450,000)
Centering our Margins: Expanding Evidence-Based Support for youth with problematic or illegal sexual behavior, and engaging families as partners in our response
Youth engagement in Problematic Sexual Behavior represents a significant public health concern with serious implications for the well-being of child victims, youth who engage in Problematic Sexual Behavior, their families and communities. Children who experience sexual abuse, including sexual abuse by other children, are at increased risk for a wide range of negative outcomes including posttraumatic stress, depression and anxiety, and substance use problems, as well as delinquency, academic problems, school drop-out, physical health problems, and re-victimization. Children who engage in problematic sexual behavior also face serious consequences and are at risk for a range of negative outcomes including prosecution, separation from family, expulsion from school and other settings where children are present, isolation from peers, and significant stigma and shame. Furthermore, families, especially racial and ethnic minorities, are marginalized in community and system response.
The Centering Our Margins Project, through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention “Supporting Effective Interventions for Youth with Problematic or Illegal Sexual Behavior” Federal Funding Opportunity, seeks to promote the safety and well-being of families, specifically children 12 and under who engage in Problematic Sexual Behaviors, as well as those of child victims and their families in the Greater Atlanta area.
The project has four components: (1) expansion of targeted evidence-based treatment (Problematic Sexual Behavior-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) to address the needs of youth who engage in problematic or illegal sexual behavior; (2) coordinated evidence-based treatment services for child victims and their families (Trauma-focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy); (3) a family-inclusive dedicated Multi-Disciplinary Team, comprised of the acting youth, caregivers/parents, and a full spectrum of professionals and child-serving systems that meets regularly to ensure communication and coordination of services and response, accountability, and public safety; and (4) therapeutic family advocacy to enhance youth and caregiver well-being and the establishment of youth and caregiver partnership boards to enlist families as co-leaders in our community and system response.
The project will serve 80 children and their families in Year 1 (40 victim children, 40 acting children) and 100 children and their families in Years 2 and 3 (50 victim children, 50 acting children per year). Treatment engagement and completion is expected to result in improved child and family functioning, reduced recidivism/re-offense and revicitmization, placement stability, and safe family reunification.