About Project Intersect

About TF-CBT

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) is a mental health treatment model designed for children ages 3- 18 who are experiencing difficulties after trauma exposure such as sexual abuse, exposure to violence, or a natural disaster. TF-CBT was developed by Judy Cohen, M.D., Anthony Mannarino, Ph.D. and Esther Deblinger, Ph.D.

TF-CBT is an evidenced-based intervention that is a SAMHSA best practice in the treatment of childhood posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Features of TF-CBT:

  • Treatment is short-term. On average, TF-CBT is completed over 18-24 weekly sessions.
  • TF-CBT is skills–based. Families are taught many skills in sessions, such as relaxation, to reduce trauma-related distress. In order for treatment to be effective, therapists will also ask children and caregivers to practice and use these skills at home and other places where stress may occur.
  • TF-CBT involves the family. Caregivers are actively included in treatment with their child and are key to successful outcomes. Typically, therapists in each TF-CBT session will spend individual time with the child, check in separately with the caregiver, and include combined family time. However, when a child does not have a caregiver who can be involved in treatment, TF-CBT treatment can still be effective in reducing childhood trauma symptoms.
  • Sessions will be structured. TF-CBT therapists will have a planned focus for each session to cover skills and activities known to be important for reducing distress related to trauma.
  • Treatment will be engaging to the family! TF-CBT therapists will strive to be creative and tailor activities to engage children and provide an enjoyable and safe treatment experience.


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.

Project Goals

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
Fulton County
680 Murphy Ave SW Suite 5091
Atlanta, GA 30310
(in the MET Atlanta)

Directions (Google Maps)

Georgia Center for Child Advocacy
Dekalb County
1950 West Exchange Place
Atlanta, GA 30084
(in the Dekalb County Family Protection Center)

Directions (Google Maps)

For more Information or to make a referral for services at the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, please contact:

Georgia Center for Child Advocacy – Therapy Referral Form