Aug 26

Joseph J. Peters Institute awarded $2 million grant to provide services for children and families in Delaware County dealing with effects of sexual abuse

Public Health Management Corporation subsidiary Joseph J. Peters Institute (JJPI), a nonprofit that helps individuals and families dealing with the effects of trauma, in collaboration with Family Support Line (FSL), a Delaware County community-based organization that helps families and children with the effects of child sexual abuse, has been awarded a five-year, nearly $2 million grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This grant will allow JPPI and FSL to provide evidence-based individual and family psychotherapy for low-income and at-risk children and families in Delaware County who are dealing with the effects of sexual abuse and other traumas.

“JJPI and Family Support Line will work to address existing gaps in care by providing high-quality trauma-focused mental health services to children and families in Delaware County,” said Ivan Haskell, Ph.D., JJPI Executive Director. “We have heard from families, schools, and child-serving organizations that there is a need for additional trauma-focused treatment services. Building on our demonstrated success in Philadelphia, this funding from SAMHSA will allow JJPI and FSL to help add these needed services in Delaware County.”

In Delaware County, high levels of sexual abuse and other traumas are going unreported and, ultimately, untreated. According to the 2019 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS), of 14,490 students (in grades 6,8,10, and 12), 22.5% reported they had experienced a form of abuse in the past 12 months.

“As the chief law enforcement officer for Delaware County, I am all too aware of the consequences of untreated trauma, particularly trauma resulting from child sexual abuse. With the award of this grant, we are confident that the talented teams at JJPI and FSL will be able to make a real difference in the lives of Delaware County children,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.

Over the next five years, JJPI will work in collaboration with FSL to create an environment that promotes healing for children and adolescents through four goals:

  1. Expand the availability of evidence-based individual and family therapy for children and families dealing with the effects of sexual abuse and other traumas.
  2. Expand the availability of interventions for children and adolescents residing or attending school in Delaware County who have been exposed to trauma and are exhibiting problematic sexual behavior (PSB).
  3. Provide needed care management and family support services for children and families dealing with the effects of trauma.
  4. Improve access to needed services by addressing current barriers to evidence-based practices.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring JJPI services to our community” said Sarah Gibbons, MSS, MLSP, LSW, Executive Director of Family Support Line. “JJPI is a leader in providing tailored services to children and families exposed to trauma, particularly in children exhibiting signs of PSB, and we are happy to co-locate these services on-site to help our clients and families in Delaware County. We have seen an increase over the last few years of children needing these services and often they are not able to access them due to certain barriers, such as an inability to travel to Philadelphia for treatment, leaving a large unmet need in our community. Having these services on-site at FSL will provide the accessibility and the familiarity needed to help these families heal from trauma.”

JJPI will use grant funding to co-locate clinicians trained in evidence-based therapies at FSL’s Media office to provide support for children who have experienced trauma, using proven evidence-based treatments such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT). For treatment of children who have engaged in PSB, JJPI’s clinicians will implement the evidence-based Problem Sexual Behavior-Cognitive Behavior Therapy (PSB-CBT) model. JJPI is one of only two providers in the region trained by the National Center on Sexual Behavior in Youth (NCSBY) to offer this model, which is not otherwise available in Delaware County. JJPI will also offer school screening evaluations of children/families and consultation to school districts in Delaware County in circumstances in which students exhibit problematic sexual behavior in the school setting that violates districts’ student code of conduct. JJPI and FSL will also offer public and charter schools the opportunity to have their students receive trauma treatment using the evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) model.

PHMC’s Research and Evaluation Group will conduct data collection and performance evaluations for the program to monitor implementation, track progress toward program objectives and measure program impact. In addition, the team will develop a client database that will provide live access to evaluation data.


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