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Community Counseling Center

What is our agenda?

The funding from the Public Safety Grant Administration Office enables Community Counseling Center (CCC) to continue to provide clinical intervention and effective treatment to children and adult victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, and domestic violence. Intervention in these cases consists of a thorough screening and diagnostic assessment, individual, group, and family therapy, and access to a 24-hour emergency service hotline. Treatment of children and adults who have experienced sexual abuse and domestic violence requires highly trained professionals The Community Counseling Center is committed to providing our clients with dedicated clinical staff who are highly qualified and receive ongoing training, supervision and consultation. Consequently, our clients are assured of an effective and qualitative clinical intervention.

Over the past several years, there has been a large increase in the number of referrals to CCC of clients without insurance coverage. Consequently, we have expanded our staff in response to the needs of our community. We have identified the need for increased services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. In addition, we have recognized the need for staff training in these areas. Our staff consists of dedicated staff who has significant experience in the fields of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and trauma. In addition, this year, two Master’s level interns provided individual counseling to VOCA clients.

The funding from the Public Safety Grant Administration Office provide for direct service to victims of crime, and their families, including Portuguese and Spanish speaking families. Specific services planned include individual, group and family treatment. In addition, clinicians continue to collaborate with other professionals in the community for the development of ancillary services, consultation, and education activities. Our goal is to minimize the traumatic symptoms experienced by our clients and to maximize their level of functioning in the community.

Community Counseling Center is a comprehensive Community Mental Health Center, which services the catchment's areas of Pawtucket and Central Falls, Rhode Island. The Center is accredited by the JCAHO and is licensed by MHRH.

Who are we?

Community Counseling Center is a non-profit organization with a record of providing effective services to victims of child sexual assault since 1985. Our agency is recognized by both the community and by the state of Rhode Island as a forerunner in the provision of qualitative clinical services. Community Counseling Center has a history of providing services in a cost-effective matter. The agency receives financial support from non-federal sources, such as state contracts, Medicaid, grants, and private donations.

In addition to paid staff, Community Counseling Center also uses volunteers in many of its programs. During the upcoming year, two-second year MSW students from Rhode Island College join the Children’s Outpatient Department for twenty hours per week of clinical field placement. These students assist staff in coordinating treatment for victims serviced through the VOCA grant. Consequently, more direct service hours are provided to clients. CCC also uses volunteers from Sawyer School in transcribing medical information. Other volunteers in our Health Information Department assist in maintaining orderly and comprehensive medical records. Our volunteers serve as an added cost-effective asset in the implementation of the VOCA grant. All volunteers and staff must sign an affidavit, which outlines our agency policies regarding client confidentiality. All clients receive a copy of the client’s rights form, which also outlines the agency’s confidentiality guidelines.

Over the past several years, CCC has demonstrated the ability to meet financial match requirements for VOCA funding. No client serviced through VOCA funds are charged for services, including through a third party payer.

In the past, our program has provided an array of services to all parts of a child’s support system. The program recognizes the individuality of each child and attempts to build upon the strengths of that child in his or her environment. We work closely with collateral services such as courts, schools, legal, and medical professionals to ensure that a full array of treatment and advocacy needs are addressed. In addition, such coordination facilitates communication among service providers and avoids the duplication of efforts.

Our staff is often called upon to provide testimony to the courts to assist in the decision-making process regarding individual child sexual abuse cases. We have frequently made our clients aware of the state’s compensation program and have assisted in completing the necessary application forms. We also provide our clients with extensive information and community referrals for them to use following termination from our program.

The Community Counseling Center has been providing mental health services to the residents of Pawtucket and Central Falls for over thirty years. Our agency provides an array of services to both adults and children of all linguistic/cultural groups including services for chronically mentally ill patients as well as substance abuse detoxification and treatment. The Children’s Services Unit of CCC provides a wide continuum of services for children ranging from birth up to 18 years of age. Comprehensive Emergency Services (CES) is a sixty day outreach program which provides services to at-risk families with the goal of prevention of child abuse and neglect. Comprehensive Intensive Services (CIS) is a six-month outreach program that provides services to families in order to prevent out of home placement and/or hospitalization of children. The Valley Community School (VCS) is an alternative education program for behavioral-disordered students. The Valley Day Program (VDP) provides structured educational and recreational activities for emotionally disturbed youth. The agency also operates two residential treatment centers for children and adolescents in need of out of home placement.

Pawtucket and Central Falls consists of a multi-ethnic population. Neighborhoods in these communities are characterized by high crime rates, poverty, substance abuse, and unemployment. These conditions can lead to unemployment. Many families who live in these two cities lack social support and are often isolated. We believe that these social conditions together with a lack of culturally sensitive resources often prevent minority clients from receiving needed services.

In an effort to address this problem, the Children’s Outpatient Department employs a FFS Portuguese speaking clinician. We are currently recruiting a Spanish-speaking therapist. Most often, clients requiring services in Spanish or Portuguese are assigned directly to bilingual clinicians. If an unusual situation arises when translation services are required, these clinicians are available to translate. In addition, the Children’s Outpatient Department has been providing outreach services to children and their families in both Pawtucket and Central Falls through the school systems. We view the school setting as a valuable resource that can enhance and develop a positive relationship with the community. Through this effort, we have increased our visibility and our ability to connect with the diversity of culture existing within our catchment's area.

The child sexual abuse treatment program at CCC began in 1985. Since that time, the number of children served has steadily increased. Funding provided through the Public Safety Grant Administration Office during the past several fiscal years has been critical to the provision of treatment to sexually abused children and their families. Community Counseling Center has consistently met goals each year that are outlined in previous VOCA Grant reports. These achievements indicate the continued need for services to victims of crime in Pawtucket and Central Falls, and that the goals CCC has set have been realistic.

The goal of the trauma treatment program at CCC is to provide therapeutic evaluation and psychotherapy to children and their families with emphasis placed on identifying the strengths of the child and the supports within the child’s environment. The primary focus is to provide treatment that helps the child resolve trauma issues and prevent re-victimization of the child. This is accomplished through therapy provided by highly trained clinicians and through advocacy for clients in the criminal justice system.

PROGRAM STAFF

Family Outpatient staff are dedicated, highly skilled professionals who posses advanced knowledge in the area of trauma and recovery. CCC is an equal opportunity employer who does not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, religion, disability, race, and/or sexual orientation.

The Manager of the Family Outpatient Program, Jim Szabo, MSW, LCSW has over ten years of management and clinical experience in the community mental health system.

Eileen Thomas is an LICSW with 20 years of working with sexually abused children, adolescents, and adults. Eileen is the senior clinician for the Family Outpatient Program and supervisors clinicians providing treatment for sexual abuse victims. Eileen is level two trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Response (EMDR). EMDR is an empirically validated treatment modality for individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The Department for Children Youth, & Families (DCYF) accredits Eileen as a sexual abuse treatment specialist.

Denise Pomfret is a Clinical Nurse Specialist who is also level two trained in EMDR. Denise has over 15 years experience working with children who have been the victim of sexual and physical assault.

Maria Vazquez is a psychologist who specializes in working with the Latino population. Maria has distinguished herself in the area of cultural competence providing numerous lectures and workshops to local colleges and universities.

David Stanford is an LCSW and LCDP with over 10 years of experience working with children and adolescents who have been the victims of abuse. David is also level two trained in EMDR.

Gwen Owen is a second year MSW student intern from Rhode Island College. She has over six years working in the mental health field.

Clinical supervision is an integral part of the Trauma Treatment Program. Specialists within our program meet individually and in a group format with members of the treatment team. Four psychiatrists and one psychologist are available for clinical consultation and evaluation as needed

Recent data compiled by the Department of Health (DOH) through their Violence Against Public Health Surveillance Program indicate that Pawtucket and Central Falls experience the second highest occurrence rate of domestic violence in the sate of Rhode Island. The data are similar for sexual victimization. DOH and DCYF rank Pawtucket and Central Falls with the second highest occurrence rate of this crime in the state. DCYF also reports that during the calendar year 2000 there were a total of 274 abuse and neglect cases in the Pawtucket and Central Falls area, again ranking the towns second in the state.

Our understanding of the long-term effects of physical and sexual abuse has increased over the past decade. Researchers are now able to draw a connection between past trauma and psychiatric disorders by identifying the brain mechanisms involved in emotional regulation and memory. The neuropathways involved in these processes are susceptible to unresolved fear elicited by a traumatic event. According to the prominent researcher Joseph LeDoux, unresolved fear predisposes individuals to anxiety disorders which in turn account for 50% of all mental health problems in the United States (United States Public Health Service).

The goal of the Trauma Treatment Program is to provide immediate crisis intervention, counseling, support, and education to help ameliorate the long-term impact of victimization. Clients have access to our services through one central intake number or by accessing our 24-hour Emergency Services (ES) program. ES has a hot line number staffed by master level clinicians that have the capability to perform immediate crisis intervention 24-hour hours a day seven days a week. ES also has staff on site at Pawtucket Memorial Hospital during evening hours to provide psychiatric triage and function as a conduit to treatment.

Once a client enters our system they are referred for treatment in the Family Outpatient Program and subsequently to our trauma experts. The victims are provided with treatment modalities such as:

  • I . Comprehensive psychiatric and psychological evaluation -1 to 3 sessions
  • 2. Comprehensive abuse evaluation - 3 to 6 sessions
  • 3. Long or short term psychotherapy - 12 weeks to 1 year
  • 4. Eye Movement Desensitization and Response (EMDR) - 20 to 40 weeks
  • 5. Group Treatment - 20 week cycles
  • 6. Family Treatment - Ongoing

The proposed project will allow for continued funding for a total of 692 clinical hours for traumatized children, adolescents, adults, and families without insurance who might otherwise be denied services. Clinicians will continue the process of community networking and will liaison with ancillary services on an ongoing basis to ensure client's needs are met and cases are fully prosecuted.

CCC continues to outreach other agencies that provide care to victims. For example, our clinicians collaborate with the Attorney General's office in video taping testimony of child victims for the purpose of minimizing trauma children may experience during live testimony. We also work closely with the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) located in Providence. CAC collaborates with the Attorney General's office, the Pawtucket and Central Falls police, and social service agencies to videotape interviews of child victims. We are members of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. This is an interdisciplinary organization dedicated to establishing guidelines for research, and providing education, support and guidance to professionals in the field of child maltreatment.

The mission of the Community Counseling Center is to provide or arrange high quality comprehensive mental health and substance abuse services for our customers in the least restrictive environment with a corporate culture that stresses continuous improvement. Consistent with this mission, the VOCA funding from the Public Safety Grant Administration Office provides or arrange for the highest quality mental health and advocacy services for child victims and their families in the least restrictive environment. Through specialized training, CCC continuously improves the skills of staff in provision of services. The child victims served by the sexual abuse treatment program are provided with the following treatment modalities in order to help them to heal from the trauma they have experienced:

  • 1. comprehensive abuse evaluation - 3 to 6 sessions
  • 2. long or short term treatment - 12 weeks to 1 year
  • 3. group treatment - 20 week cycles
  • 4. family treatment - ongoing

The clinical abuse evaluation conducted at CCC follows the guidelines of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

The VOCA funding from the Public Safety Grant Administration Office allows for continued funding for a total of 692 direct service hours to traumatized children and their families without insurance who might otherwise be denied services. Clinicians continue the process of community networking and meet with ancillary services on an ongoing basis to ensure client’s needs are meet and cases are fully prosecuted.

CCC has made efforts to network with other agencies providing care to child victims over the years. For example, the clinicians have collaborated with the Attorney General’s office in video taping testimony of child victims for minimizing trauma to the victim. Video taped testimony is used to prevent the child from having to testify before a grand jury. We have also worked closely with the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) which is located in Providence. The Advocacy Center collaborates with the Attorney General’s office, local police departments (including Pawtucket and Central Falls) and social services agencies to videotape interviews of child victims of sexual abuse. We have made referrals of clients to the CAC as well as received referrals for treatment from the CAC.

In the past Children’s Outpatient Services has been an active member of the Sexual Abuse Networking Group (SANG), a statewide coalition of sexual abuse providers. This group disbanded in the Fall of 1995. We are now a member of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, an interdisciplinary organization dedicated to establishing guidelines for professionals, encouraging research, providing professional education and support and guidance to professionals in the field of child maltreatment.

Finally, the Children’s Outpatient Services department has made a concerted effort to prioritize all cases of recent disclosure where children are required to testify in legal proceedings. Other cases of recent disclosure of child sexual abuse are also prioritized on our waiting list.

What is our action plan?

All members of the Children’s Outpatient staff are responsible for achieving the following goals and objectives.

GOAL 1:

OBJECTIVE 1

1. To provide the highest quality of services to child victims and their families.

2. To help trauma victims heal from their victimization in a manner that empowers them and builds upon individual and family strengths.

Activities

GOAL 2:

a. To provide 692 hours of direct service to child victims and their families.

b. To prioritize 100% of all cases on the Children’s Outpatient Services waiting list where there has been a recent disclosure of sexual abuse. One hundred percent of child victims are offered individual and group treatment. A comprehensive written sexual abuse evaluation is completed for 100% of all cases where it is required by court.

To protect clients from further re-victimization through treatment and education

OBJECTIVE 1

To increase the level of functioning for each child and his or her family.

Activities

a. To assist victims and families in obtaining crime victim compensation assistance through education and active case management.

b. To provide a 16-week psycho educational group to children who are victims of domestic violence. The curriculum utilized for this group was purchased with funding provided from a past VOCA grant.

GOAL 3:

To ensure that well-trained staff are networking with other professionals in the community.

OBJECTIVE I

To provide comprehensive sexual abuse treatment and domestic violence education to clinicians who treat victims of trauma.

Activities

a. To provide a minimum of 14 hours of additional advanced staff training to clinicians in the areas of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

OBJECTIVE 2

To actively participate and consult with other community resources in the provision of services for clients, including the criminal justice system.

Activities

a. To have representation in the newly formed local chapter of the American

Professional Society of the Abuse of Children.

b. To collaborate with the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and consult with Prosecuting personnel and the Victim Witness Program.

c. To consult and collaborate with schools, hospitals, and DCYF in order to provide effective management of cases.

GOAL 4:

OBJECTIVE I

1. To maximize the use of volunteers in implementing the VOCA grant.

2. To actively recruit and train students and volunteers who can assist victims of crime.

Activities

a. To utilize two second year MSW students to co-facilitate individual and group treatment and provide individual and family counseling.

b. To use one secretarial student to assist in transcribing client information.

c. To utilize one volunteer to assist in organizing medical records and health information.

The manager of Family Outpatient Services, Jim Szabo, MSW, LCSW, assumes responsibility for the overall delivery of administrative and clinical services provided under the VOCA grant

Administrative efforts will be directed at coordinating the ongoing implementation of management information systems within CCC that efficiently reports on VOCA related activities. Management will utilize the advanced technology available to automate data collection processes and accurately report out to VOCA administrators. The Gateway Healthcare Inc. (GHI) Quality Assurance department will partake in a monitoring and evaluation plan to ensure overall quality regarding VOCA related activities.

The delivery of clinical services will be coordinated through the program manager. Clinical staff will benefit from a direct transfer of knowledge and technology regarding state-of-the-art treatment modalities from experts within the department. Clinicians will receive individual supervision form team members who posses an expertise in specific treatment modalities such as EMDR, sexual abuse evaluation and therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), crisis intervention, group therapy, and brief treatment modalities. At minimum, staff will receive either group or individual supervision one time per week.

Consultations are available with four staff psychiatrists: Dr. Timothy Rivinus, Dr. Horatio Hojman, Dr. Pam Shuman, and Dr. Renu Kothari. Dr. Frank Canino is available to provide psychological testing and differential diagnostic evaluations. All five staff members are available to the treatment team for clinical back-up or face-to-face evaluations for VOCA clients.

How do we measure ourselves?

The Community Counseling Center’s Board of Directors meets a minimum of nine (9) times per year. Directors are clients of the corporation, family members of clients, individuals with expertise or interest in mental health clinical services or education, members of minority ethnic groups or the public.

Community Counseling Center is accredited by the Joint Commission of Accreditation for Health Care Organizations, and under that accreditation, we have developed an extensive Quality Assurance plan to ensure that the highest quality services are offered to clients. The clinical staff is responsible for case records containing information about clients. These records adhere to CCC policy and procedure concerning storage and confidentiality. Records are stored in the Health Information Department at CCC. The treatment of clients is evaluated both quantitatively and qualitatively to ensure effective treatment. Records are monitored and reviewed by the program manager, peer reviewers, and Quality Assurance Committee members to determine frequency, duration, and quality of clinical intervention.

For More Information Contact:
Jim Szabo, Program Director
160 Beachwood Avenue
Pawtucket, Rhode Island 02860
Telephone: (401)722-7855 ext.23
Email :Jszabo@Gatewayhealth.org
Web Page:WWW.Gatewayhealth.