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Task Sharing in a Children’s Advocacy Center: The Role of Victim Advocates in Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Children & Families

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2021
14 pages

This Issue Brief examines task-sharing in a Children’s Advocacy Center’s (CAC’s) work, with a focus on collaboration between the CAC victim advocate and the child’s therapist, particularly in rural areas where the therapist may provide services remotely through tele-mental health treatment.



In discussing the features of “mental health task-sharing,” this Brief defines it as “the delegation of select tasks that are often delivered by a licensed mental health provider to a non-licensed colleague with relevant training to expand the reach and depth of the services delivered by the licensed clinician.” Such an arrangement enables more clients to be effectively served with a limited number of licensed professionals. The victim advocate position in a CAC is appropriate for a mental-health task-sharing role, since many tasks typically performed by victim advocates address the effects of trauma on children, as well as addressing cultural stigma and other barriers to engaging in therapy.  Sections of this guide highlight several key task-sharing roles paraprofessionals can perform in expanding the delivery and impact of high-quality trauma mental health services in a CAC environment. These roles include crisis assessment and intervention, education/psychoeducation, screening, matching and referral to therapy, engagement in therapy, the monitoring of treatment, and transportation. For each of these tasks, the roles of the clinician and the CAC victim advocate/paraprofessional are distinguished. A case example is provided of a CAC victim advocate as a task-sharing member of the Mental Health Team.  14 references


Date Published: December 1, 2021