Safe Place Treatment and Support Program

The SAFE Place Treatment and Support Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provides services, including outpatient treatment, family support, psychoeducation, referrals and resources to children and families where there is known or suspected child sexual abuse.

Depending on the needs of the individual child and family, SAFE Place Treatment and Support therapists may:

  • Provide time-limited family support/psychoeducation in cases where trauma-focused treatment is not indicated
  • Provide trauma-focused outpatient psychotherapy
  • Help families find appropriate resources in the community

In addition, SAFE Place clinicians may provide education and training about topics related to child sexual abuse to interested community agencies and parent groups.

Family support/psychoeducation

When sexual abuse is known or suspected, it can be confusing and overwhelming for the entire family. SAFE Place clinicians may support families by:

  • Helping caregivers deal with challenging behaviors a child may be exhibiting
  • Helping the caregiver/child process and understand medical information
  • Helping families navigate the different entities involved, such as child welfare, legal and medical systems
  • Teaching safety skills
  • Educating caregivers about typical sexual development
  • Improving the quality of communication between caregiver and child about difficult experiences
  • Connecting families to appropriate resources in the community and making referrals

Outpatient treatment

In many cases, children who have experienced sexual abuse or other forms of maltreatment will benefit from trauma-focused psychotherapy to address symptoms related to the abuse.

Safe Place clinicians are trained in providing trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT). TF-CBT is a short-term treatment that may work in as few as 12 sessions. Treatment may be provided for longer periods depending on the child’s and family’s needs.

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment model focused on:

  • Parent support and education
  • Emotion identification and expression
  • Processing distressing events
  • Improving coping skills
  • Building safety skills

The SPTS team may also recommend and offer other therapeutic interventions as appropriate.