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Local Agencies Collaborate to Address Sexually Aggressive Youth Behavior

FULTON, NY – According to 2013-2015 statistics from the Child Advocacy Center, in Oswego County one-third of alleged sexual offenses of children are committed by children under the age of 18, with a significant number of those being under the age of 13.

The Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County has collaborated with the Huntington Family Centers to bring a new curriculum that will benefit Oswego County youth. Seated from left are therapist Brittany Terotta and executive director Mary Lou Salyes of The Huntington Family Centers. In back row from left are CAC therapist Stacy Austin-Root, CAC executive director Karrie Damm, and program supervisor with Huntington Family Centers Meg Gilmore-Resnick.
The Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County has collaborated with the Huntington Family Centers to bring a new curriculum that will benefit Oswego County youth. Seated from left are therapist Brittany Terotta and executive director Mary Lou Salyes of The Huntington Family Centers. In back row from left are CAC therapist Stacy Austin-Root, CAC executive director Karrie Damm, and program supervisor with Huntington Family Centers Meg Gilmore-Resnick.

In an effort to address this issue, the CAC is collaborating with Huntington Family Centers to implement an evidence based treatment curriculum aimed at children age 7 through 12 with problematic sexual behavior issues.

Huntington Family Centers, the designated provider for juvenile sexual offenses in Oswego County, has partnered with the CAC to learn a new skill set and model curriculum that has the potential to greatly reduce problematic sexual behaviors in pre-teen youth.

“Karrie Damm, executive director of the CAC and I are senior leaders on this collaboration,” said Huntington Family Centers executive director Mary Lou Sayles. “We will be working to ensure that our therapists are following the model so that we may better serve youth in Oswego County. Statistics show that 50% of youth who act out sexually on other youth have a sex abuse history themselves.  The other 50% acts out sexually in response to living in harsh, abusive environments. The use of this evidence based treatment curriculum as an early intervention tool reduces the recidivism rate to 2%. It helps to stop the offending youths from developing those behaviors and habits as they go on with their lives.  It is a real prevention model that produces positive results.”

The collaboration on this project is 1 of only 6 in New York State that was chosen by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The OJJDP wanted local CACs to take the lead on this curriculum,” said Damm.  “We were chosen due to our collaborative nature and our ability to not only implement the curriculum, but to continuing it for years to come.”

“We are fortunate that Oswego County has a Child Advocacy Center,” added Sayles. “We are excited about having all of our clinicians trained in a model that has such a high level of outcome success. By bringing together the resources and expertise of the CAC with The Huntington Adolescent Safe Options Treatment Program, which works with youth who have exhibited sexually reactive or aggressive behaviors and has been in place in Oswego County for a number of years, there is tremendous hope that we can prevent problematic sexual behaviors in pre-teen youth and prevent further child abuse victims.”

With Huntington Family Centers history of successful collaborations and its model of community based / home based intervention and the CAC’s expertise in programs that incorporate bringing parents, caregivers and youth together in a real family based way, Damm and Sayles anticipate a successful roll out to the new curriculum sometime this summer.

“With the skill sets that we both bring to the project and the non-competitive nature of this collaboration, we are looking forward to the opportunity to better serve our youth with this new and exciting curriculum,” added Damm.

Located at 301 Beech St., Fulton, the CAC is a non-profit organization that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, mental health providers, and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve child victims of sexual and physical abuse. In 2015 the CAC served 456 children and families in Oswego County.

Huntington Family Centers provide diverse programming in the areas of Youth Development, Family Development and Adult Development.

The programs are designed to strengthen individuals and families in a safe, caring environment that allows each individual to develop and grow to their fullest potential.

For more information visit www.huntingtonfamilycenters.org