We’ve long been aware that adverse childhood events, including sexual abuse, increase the risk for serious health issues throughout the continuum of life. Children who do not receive intervention and services face a much greater risk of suffering from psychological effects like depression, PTSD, and suicide as well as serious medical issues like diabetes and heart disease. In 2013, thanks to grant funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts and corporate donations, the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance developed a program to provide on-site mental health treatment for children who have been sexually abused and minor victims of sex trafficking.
All children who come to PCA are screened for symptoms of PTSD so that each child can be referred for the type of treatment that they need. PCA employs licensed therapists who are trained in evidence-based interventions to treat sexual abuse and trauma. PCA offers Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Both of these models are well-researched and widely disseminated treatments for trauma. In addition, PCA has a robust Group Therapy program that includes groups for adolescents and a group for young children and their parents. Through PCA’s treatment programs and caring staff, children are able to demonstrate significant improvement in functioning, experience a reduction in trauma symptoms, and to get well on their way to healing.