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Supporting Effective Interventions for Adolescent Sex Offenders and Child Victims in Colorado

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $467,163)

This program aligns with the Department’s priorities to combat victimization and enhance public safety. The Supporting Effective Interventions for Children With Sexual Behavior Problems and Adolescent Sex Offenders program supports communities in developing comprehensive, multidisciplinary approaches to provide a continuum of intervention and supervision services for youth with problematic and illegal sexual behavior as well as treatment services for their victims and families/caregivers. This program is authorized by Pub. L. No. 116-93, 133 Stat. 2317, 2410.

The goal of this proposal is to mitigate the impact of juvenile sex offenses on child victims and prevent reoffending through effective, evidence-based treatment. The proposal will address two significant gaps in how Colorado responds to adolescent sex offenses. First, the majority of adolescent sex offender programming in Colorado relies on individual and group therapy. Research shows that these individually focused, group-care models are largely ineffective and may actually undermine community safety by increasing risk factors for reoffending. Furthermore, focusing on individual rather than systemic factors relies on the youth alone to maintain their success in a natural environment, often after they learned tools in an artificial environment like residential treatment. To address this gap, Savio will expand its multisystemic therapy-problematic sexual behavior (MST-PSB) programming to serve adolescent sex offenders along Colorado's Northern Front Range (Clear Creek, Boulder, Weld, and Larimer Counties). MST-PSB is a family-centered, community-based treatment for adolescent sex offenders that promotes victim safety and reduces the likelihood of future problem behaviors and criminal activity. This strategy will provide a more balanced continuum of care while ensuing community safety through ongoing risk assessment and safety planning. Second, the impact of sexual abuse can have long-lasting effects on child victims, similar to other forms of adverse childhood experiences. The resulting trauma can derail normal development and cause mental health problems. The current services available to child victims of adolescent sex crimes are inadequate. Savio will create a victim services team that will provide an effective intervention by providing trauma-informed treatment to child victims of juvenile sex offenses. The new team will use two evidence-based modalities: trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing to treat child victims. This expansion of Savio's continuum of care for families will improve access and quality of care. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 16, 2020