“Amy” and her mother, “Janice” came to ChildSafe as a result of allegations of sexual abuse by Amy’s step sibling. Mom was at a loss because she felt that she had no support from Amy’s father, whose step-son was the alleged perpetrator. She thought he was purposely trying to sabotage the case by putting ideas in Amy’s head so she wouldn’t tell on her step-sibling. This enraged mom – and is all too common.

The incidents that led up to Amy being at ChildSafe not only affected Amy, but have done damage to her brothers and her mom as well, as secondary victims.

While Janice was being interviewed, a ChildSafe Family Support Specialist (FSS) is to simply listen to the caregiver and offer a sympathetic ear. Often times a child’s caregiver has no one else to speak to about their private and delicate situation so when given the opportunity, it can be a strong moment of catharsis for the parent. As mom was speaking, the FSS did little more than nod his head in acknowledgment and occasionally asked a question so Janice knew he was listening. By the end of their conversation, it seemed a weight had been lifted off her shoulders, but still her problems had not magically evaporated.

Amy’s mother talked about how her lawyer, who was in charge of her custody case, was not supportive, was dismissive and at worst negligent. The FSS provided her a referral to Child Custody Solutions in hopes that they may be able to give her new insight. Less than a week later, Janice called with thanks for the advice that she received, which finally started her custody case moving forward.

Once Amy was done with her interview, and after mom had discussed with law enforcement what transpired, mom made the decision that Amy should be seen by a ChildSafe counselor. Janice was elated when ChildSafe was able to provide counseling for Amy’s two brothers who were also affected by their sister’s abuse. The children are part of the ChildSafe adventure therapy program and the family is on a path to healing and support, working to bond and grow together again.

ChildSafe, a United Way nonprofit partner, works to restore dignity, hope, and trust to children traumatized by abuse and neglect. As the only Children’s Advocacy Center in Bexar County, they provide expert care and specialized services to children and teenagers who have been traumatized by abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse.