The CAC offers comprehensive therapy and education services to child victims of abuse ages 3-17 and their non-offending family members, including:
1. Individual therapy
2. Family therapy to help all affected family members, including family/caregiver support therapy
3. Support groups for victims and non-offending caregivers
4. Client and family education, support, and advocacy
5. Community presentations, consultations, and educational programs
6. Court preparation and education about the criminal justice system in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Victim Advocacy Program
7. Consultation and/or referral to other community resources in the event the CAC is unable to provide services
8. Collaboration and case management with other agencies to ensure coordination of services
9. Court testimony in criminal cases when required by the District Attorney
Treatment is available both short and long-term, depending on need. The therapist begins by meeting with the non-offending caregiver or guardian to perform an assessment and creating a treatment plan. Therapeutic interventions may include play therapy and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Play, individual, and family therapy sessions last approximately 30-50 minutes. Group sessions last approximately 1-1.5 hours. The therapist will recommend the types of services that will be most helpful for you and your child, as well as how often you and your child should participate in those services. Information shared during clinical services are kept confidential unless something is shared that the therapist is mandated to report by law, such as new information regarding child abuse or neglect or if someone is a risk of danger to him/herself or others. Information can also be shared when an Authorization to Release Information form has been signed by the client/guardian. This is often done to allow the therapist to communicate with other agencies or individuals involved in helping the child or family recover from trauma.
The CAC clinical services program focuses on treating trauma and other issues related to child abuse. If other treatment needs are identified that are outside the scope of the CAC’s practice, then the CAC therapist will provide a referral to another agency that will better meet those needs. The CAC does not perform medical examinations, psychological testing, psychiatric services, substance abuse treatment services, crisis stabilization services, custody evaluations, assessments for sexual abuse, and/or sex offender treatment services.
CAC therapists have specialized training and experience in working with child abuse victims. Treatment will be provided by and/or under the supervision of Allison Parris Owen, MS, LMFT, RPT, Clinical Director. Allison is credentialed as a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) by the Association for Play Therapy and is licensed by The Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). The CAC also utilizes advanced Master’s-level Graduate Interns to provide clinical services. The Master’s-level Graduate Interns are also under the supervision of Ph.D. level faculty members, who are licensed by the State of Georgia. All clinical staff at the CAC adhere to the Codes of Ethics of The Georgia Composite Board of Professional Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists and their professional associations. The CAC requires all staff therapists and interns to participate in weekly supervision.
Referrals for clinical services and eligibility criteria
The CAC accepts referrals for clinical services from a variety of sources, including DFCS, law enforcement, schools, other mental health programs, etc. Families can also self-refer by calling the CAC to inquire about services. The CAC specializes in working with children who have been physically and sexually abused. Appropriate referrals are those with an allegation or history of physical or sexual abuse. Non-offending siblings of children who have been victims of abuse may also be eligible to receive services if they have been impacted by the abuse. Children who have witnessed or been victims of other crimes or trauma and children exhibiting acting out behaviors will also be considered for services.
Preparing for the clinical intake appointment
After a referral is received and accepted, CAC staff contact the non-offending caregiver or guardian of the child to schedule an intake appointment. The intake appointment is only for the caregivers of the child and typically lasts an hour to an hour and a half; this gives the caregivers a chance to speak with the therapist without the child being present. The caregivers are asked to read and completed the Informed Consent form and Biopsychosocial Family Assessment form prior to the intake session. The caregivers are asked to bring custody paperwork, if available, to prove they have legal authority to consent for the child to have services. During the intake appointment, the CAC therapist meets with the caregivers/guardians to gather information regarding the allegations, the child’s functioning, the needs of the child and family, etc. At the completion of the intake appointment, the CAC therapist schedules an appointment for the child to begin services and will schedule appointments for other services if needed or requested.