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Kawerak CAC Mental Health Services Expansion

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $600,000)

This program furthers the Department's mission by providing cooperative agreements for enhancement and expansion of Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) to organizations that OJJDP designates. The purpose of this program is to increase the coverage and capacity of CAC services in Alaska for child victims of abuse. Kawerak is a nonprofit tribal consortium serving the 20 Alaska Native tribes in Northwestern Alaska. It serves a population of 10,000 people living in 16 communities that are accessible only via aircraft or boat. Kawerak CAC is accredited through National Children’s Alliance (NCA) and its mission is to provide a child-friendly, culturally respectful place where caring professionals work together to help families, children, and communities affected by abuse. The purpose of this project is to enhance mental health services for child victims of sexual abuse and nonoffending caregivers in the Bering Strait Region, informed by a community needs assessment, caregiver surveys, and NCA accreditation standards. Currently, Kawerak CAC clients are engaged in mental health treatment, though none are receiving evidence-based treatment as required by NCA standards. This project will fund a full-time CAC clinician and part-time client advocate devoted to increasing access to mental health screenings, comprehensive assessments, and evidence-based treatments. Primary activities include providing pre/post interview support, developing a formal screening and referral protocol, providing comprehensive follow-through with referrals, strengthening collaboration with Norton Sound Health Corporation Behavioral Health Services, offering evidence-based treatments, educating MDT members on emotional needs of child victims and caregivers and vicarious trauma, and project evaluation. The Kawerak CAC clinician will provide trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, an evidence-based treatment specifically intended to reduce trauma symptoms. This practice includes educating the parent and child about the effects of trauma, teaching skills for stress management, learning to work through difficult thoughts and feelings related to the trauma, and gradually working through the memories. Increasing caregiver engagement in treatment will enhance their capacity to protect and strengthen the child-caregiver relationship, and can decrease revictimization. CA/NCF

Date Created: October 22, 2020