Updates on our work to address Problematic Sexual Behavior (PSB):

This year marked an important step in the sustainability and maturation of our Youth with Problematic Sexual Behavior initiative. Responding to a Request for Proposals, MACA submitted a successful application and secured a 5-Year grant awarded by the Children’s Trust as part of the Massachusetts Legislative Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force. The application offered accomplishments upon which future work would focus, particularly, addressing barriers faced by children and their families in accessing specialized therapeutic intervention.

For our proposal, we included funding for a new Service Navigator position to assist in connecting children exhibiting problematic sexual behaviors with specialized therapeutic intervention. Staff serving in this position will offer an assisted referral process ensuring connection with care. By centralizing this service, CAC staff will not have to worry that children will fall through the cracks or be placed on long waiting lists.

The Service Navigator also makes connections to service providers for children statewide, utilizing telehealth as appropriate. Moreover, this position will work with other related stakeholders to address system issues through interagency collaboration. Training cohorts will also continue for the duration of the grant with a focus on building in-state trainer capacity, reducing our reliance on the trainers at the University of Oklahoma/National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth, a mutually shared goal.

(PSB-CBT) Training Cohort 3

MACA hosted its third Problematic Sexual Behavior-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (PSB-CBT) Training Cohort with an emphasis on addressing underserved areas of the state. There were a total of six counties that served in the cohort: Berkshire, Bristol, Franklin, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Worcester. Tele-mental health options through the out-of-county referral process continue to play a major role, especially within more rural parts of the state, to increase access to services for children with PSB.

Nearly a quarter of cases handled by CACs involve youth or children under the age of 18 acting out against another child. The PSB-CBT Training Cohort serves a critical purpose in ensuring an appropriate response by all systems charged with intervention; this is critical to the safety and well-being of child victims, the child with PSBs, and any other children impacted by the behavior and response.

This training cohort also introduces an important educational component to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) partners to gain recognition of PSBs among youth. A priority of the collaborative is to train clinicians in evidence-based treatment and equip them to develop and implement effective responses that ensure the physical and psychological safety of all children and their families at the CAC.

The third training cohort trained 27 clinicians and senior leaders in PSB-CBT. Two clinicians and learning collaborative sites that were trained in Cohort Two (Suffolk County CAC and Boston Child Study Center) are currently being trained in the Within-Agency Trainers (WATers) model. Clinicians who have completed specialized training under the supervision of therapists in the PSB-CBT™ treatment model can offer the training. They can then independently provide PSB-CBT™ training within the sponsoring agency to therapists employed or selected by the agency. These types of training will further develop the sustainability that MACA is working towards to have a self-sufficient training model here in Massachusetts.

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