The Philadelphia Children’s Alliance brings together a team of professionals to allow abused children to tell their story using a coordinated process in a safe and welcoming facility. Victims of child sexual abuse have already been through so much, and the pain and shame that accompany this abuse can be overwhelming. Years ago, abused children would have to recount their trauma over and over again… to police officers, district attorneys, social workers, and more. That is no longer the case in Philadelphia, thanks to the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance.
When a report of child sexual abuse is made in Philadelphia, our intake team coordinates the investigation with a multi-disciplinary team approach. Our intake coordinator is the first point of contact with the victims’ families, and works closely with our forensic interviewer, representatives from the Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit and Department of Human Services, and mental health and medical professionals on behalf of the victim.
PCA reviews and tracks all cases of child sexual abuse to assure excellent, uninterrupted service to clients. Every case is reviewed via a formal process where representatives of all partner agencies come together to share information, make recommendations for the best outcome for the child, and discuss any other services that the family might need.
This formal process ensures that the knowledge, experience and expertise of members is shared so that informed decisions can be made, collaborative efforts are nurtured, formal and informal communication is provided, and protocols/procedures are followed.
A state-of-the art case-tracking database enables us to follow hundreds of children’s cases at once, providing essential demographic information, case information, and investigation/intervention outcomes from all involved agencies. Our effective case tracking system enables PCA staff to accurately inform children and families about the current status and disposition of their cases. Data has also been used to assemble local, regional, statewide and national statistics that have been used for advocacy, research, and legislative purposes in the field of child maltreatment.
The Victim Advocate is the point of contact for the family throughout the investigation which can last many months, or even several years. For victims and their families, a PCA Victim Advocate is always just a phone call away.
PCA offers court accompaniment to our clients and their families to reduce the child’s uneasiness of being a witness in court; instill confidence in caregiver’s ability to support their child; and instill confidence in the child and their ability to confront their offender.
The Philadelphia Safety Collaborative's on-site medical clinic is supported by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and staffed by DHS nurses focused on evaluating children when there has been an allegation of child sexual abuse. This on-site medical program helps in our goal to make the process for child victims as efficient as possible, ultimately minimizing trauma while streamlining the investigative process.
MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY
Through PCA’s mental health treatment programs and the work of caring staff members, children make significant improvement in functioning, experience a reduction in trauma symptoms, and get well on their way to healing.
Forensic interviews are typically the cornerstone of a child abuse investigation, effective child protection, subsequent prosecution, and are the beginning of the healing process for many children.
Understanding and responding to the needs of commercially sexually exploited youth is critical, and we are committed to providing every child victim of sex trafficking with comprehensive care. PCA conducts forensic interviews of younger victims, and our partners in the Human Trafficking Task Force conduct the interviews for older teens.
What we do