The Dickerson Children's Advocacy Center is a child-focused facility that provides forensic interviews, forensic medicals, mental health and victim advocate services to victims of child abuse between the ages of 0 to 18.
The purpose of the forensic interview is an investigative interview to determine the likelihood of child abuse and to assess the safety and mental health concerns of the child at the present moment. As such, DCAC provides forensic interviews at the request of DSS, law enforcement, solicitor's office, and pursuant to request of any judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit or pursuant to Family Court order during investigations of child abuse and neglect.
The purpose of the exam is to evaluate the medical condition of the child, to complete lab testing deemed necessary by the physician, to prescribe necessary medical treatment, to collect evidence for use in the prosecution of child abuse cases, and to provide reassurance to the child and family regarding the physical integrity of the child's body.
The DCAC provides specialized trauma-focused mental health services on-site for the child client age 3 to 18 years of age. The DCAC offers Psychoeducation, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Protection Clarification Therapy, and group therapy services. The DCAC offers a Non-Offending Caregiver Support Group on a quarterly basis. The non-offending caregiver support group is a psychoeducational, closed group format providing support and education to parents whose children have experienced sexual abuse. The DCAC mental health providers complete a full trauma-informed assessment and match mental health clients with appropriate services on-site or through referral. In addition, the DCAC provides the following services:
- • Crisis counseling services
- • Trauma-specific assessment including full trauma and biopsychosocial history
- • Family / caregiver engagement through individual and group parent / caregiver support and education
- • Individualized treatment plan that is periodically assessed
- • Individuallized evidence-informed treatment appropriate for the children and family seen informed by comprehensive assessment as well as MDT sharing of information and recommendations.
- • Clinical supervision provided by a licensed clinician (individual and group) as well as ongoing peer consultation and review
- • Referral to other community services as needed
The Victim Advocate provides support, education, referral and crisis intervention to the child and their non-offending family members in an effective, time-sensitive manner. Ongoing support is offered to clients of DCAC by the VA, providing follow-up contact with all families at a minimum of six weeks and up to six months after contact has ended with DCAC. Onsite therapy is continued or restarted as necessary.