Project Intersect is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services leading public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
Project Intersect is an initiative of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NSTSN), which is also funded by SAMHSA. The NCSTN was established by Congress in 2000 to raise the standard of care and improve access to services for traumatized children, their families, and communities throughout the United States. The NCTSN consists of members from hospitals, universities, and community based programs around the country that are involved in training, service delivery, product development, data collection, evaluation, public policy and awareness efforts.
Since 2012, Project Intersect has been committed to improving the well-being of youth who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking (CSEC) and those at high-risk for CSEC. The project trains and supports a network of mental health providers across Georgia in trauma-focused and evidence-based mental health interventions. These providers serve CSEC and their caregivers through the delivery of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), with adaptations specific to supporting this vulnerable population of youth.
Project Intersect also supports trauma-informed CSEC training and development for caregivers and professionals across child serving systems to better recognize and respond to the needs of CSEC. Systems are targeted that frequently intersect with CSEC and high-risk youth including Foster Care and Residential Treatment youth-serving organizations.
Youth who have experienced CSEC have high rates of trauma exposure and impacts, including high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, substance use concerns, suicidal ideation and self-injury. CSEC are often involved in systems including child welfare and juvenile and/or criminal justice.
To address the complex needs of CSEC in Georgia, Project Intersect aims to:
- Increase access to TF-CBT, a trauma-focused, evidence-based mental health intervention, adapted for the needs of CSEC and their families throughout all 13 DFCS regions in Georgia.
- Adaptations for youth of color who experience CSEC and racial trauma
- Adaptations for youth at high-risk of CSEC
- Adaptations for CSEC and those at high-risk addressing the intersections of trauma and substance use
- Improve caregiver knowledge of traumatic stress, trauma-informed care, trauma-focused treatment, and CSEC to better identify and achieve safe, supportive, and sustained home environments for CSEC.
- Improve professional workforce knowledge and skills regarding traumatic stress, trauma-informed care, trauma-focused treatment, and CSEC to better respond to the needs of CSEC, particularly CSEC-specific residential programs.
Therapy for Children and Families
Project Intersect provides outpatient therapy services at the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy to youth in the Atlanta area who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. The Project utilizes TF-CBT as the primary intervention framework. TF-CBT is an evidence-based treatment that is effective with sexually abused and traumatized children and adolescents and has been used successfully with CSEC.
Commercially sexually exploited children and adolescents and their non-offending caregivers participate in at least weekly 60 or 90-minute sessions. Therapy services are provided free of charge at the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy.
Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
680 Murphy Ave SW Suite 5091
Atlanta, GA 30310
(in the MET Atlanta)
Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
1950 West Exchange Place
Atlanta, GA 30084
(in the Dekalb County Family Protection Center)