ABC House provides comprehensive child abuse assessment and support services to children and their non-offending family members. Our services include:
Medical Examinations. Children may receive a medical exam by physicians specializing in the recognition and treatment of child abuse. This head-to-toe check-up includes a complete social and medical history. Any physical signs of abuse are documented and may be used as evidence in the abuse investigation. Equally important, children have the opportunity to ask questions about how the abuse may have affected their bodies and development, and to receive reassurance from our trained staff.
ABC House physicians also coordinate drug testing for children exposed to illicit substances and serve as Linn and Benton counties’ designated medical provider under Karly’s Law, which mandates that children with suspicious physical injuries must receive medical attention from child abuse experts.
Forensic Interviews. Children aged four and older can sit down with a professional trained in talking to children to obtain accurate and objective information, without leading, interrogating or traumatizing them. All ABC House interviewers receive advanced training in child development and communicating with children using age-appropriate, legally-sound methods. This in-depth interview is digitally recorded to reduce the number of times children need to share their experiences with other professionals involved in the investigation.
Family Support. Families receive support to help them cope with the discovery of abuse and navigate any next steps. Our Advocate provides families with clear, concise information to help parents and caregivers understand the child abuse assessment and investigation processes. Our team also helps families to identify any other needs, such as counseling, domestic violence or housing, and connects them to local community partners who offer these services. If eligible, the Advocate helps the family complete and submit an application from Crime Victims Compensation Funds to help cover the cost of future needs for the child.
Trauma Counseling. Children aged 4 and older and their non-offending family members work with counselors specializing in trauma treatment modalities to help children process what has happened to them and move forward. Children learn strategies to help them manage their fear or feelings of being out-of-control when remembering abusive events, and to focus on their own strengths and abilities. Non-offending family members also learn skills to help their children deal with abuse memories, and to strengthen parent-child relationships. The majority of our counseling clients have received child abuse assessment services through ABC House, while others are seen on a case-by-case basis in response to outside referrals.
Community Education. We believe that prevention education is the key to ending child abuse. ABC House offers a multi-faceted community outreach program that includes practical training programs for adult professionals and community members to learn to prevent, identify and respond to concerns of child abuse; school presentations to educate students on ways to stay safer; and Girls Circle support groups for at-risk teenage girls to develop healthy self-esteem and resilience. All educational programming is offered in both Benton and Linn counties and is offered at no cost to attendees.