After defining and describing children with problematic sexual behaviors (PSB), this paper discusses the development of an integrated response to PSB by child-serving professionals, with a focus on the work and training of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) and Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs).
The literature on children with PSB commonly defines them as “children ages 12 and younger who initiate behaviors involving sexual body parts (genitals, anus, buttocks, or breasts) that are developmentally inappropriate or potentially harmful to themselves or others.” Research suggests that most children will not manifest PSB into adolescence and adulthood, particularly if caregivers provide treatment services. In order to provide effective treatment services to such children, their child victims, and their caregivers, MDTs and CACs must develop a comprehensive, collaborative child-focused and family-focused response model. An effective response can reduce the risk of the PSB from re-occurring and promote healthy child behaviors. This paper proposes a training program for child-serving professionals in the development of an integrated response to child PSB. It also explains how to adapt the MDT approach and the CAC model to child PSB cases. The paper advises that through the development and implementation of a written investigative protocol specific to children with PSB, MDTs and CACs can develop the capacity to engage in best practices when they receive referrals of such cases. 22 references and a listing of online training resources