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Federal award supports mobile team & additional trained professionals to help children affected by trauma
Congressman Brian Higgins recently announced $2,000,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for BestSelf Behavioral Health to expand the accessibility and availability of trauma treatment for children across Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.
“The best way to help children who have lived through unthinkable situations is to provide support quickly and compassionately,” Higgins said. “This funding supports the efforts of BestSelf and its community partners to rapidly reach more families through this comprehensive and collaborative approach.”
The Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf provides support for children who are traumatized by physical or sexual abuse. Comprehensive, accessible services are provided through a multidisciplinary team that includes medical and mental health professionals, law enforcement, prosecutors as well as child protective service agencies. This funding will provide additional services to children affected by trauma through a mobile outreach team and expanding the number of clinicians who receive this specialized training.
“On behalf of our entire BestSelf team and the children and families we serve, thank you Congressman Higgins and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for funding these needed services,” stated Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, president and CEO of BestSelf Behavioral Health. “The Child Advocacy Center can now offer expanded services via mobile units to underserved communities where significant health care gaps exist. Mobile treatment units are ideal as care can be provided at home, at pediatric offices, or even at police stations to help provide urgent and ongoing care of children affected by trauma."
In addition to the mobile treatment unit expansion, this federal funding will enable BestSelf to increase the number of therapists and victim advocates trained in treatment specifically targeting children, adolescents and families who have experienced traumatic events. The Child Advocacy Center mobile team will work with law enforcement, child protection and pediatric service providers in Erie, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.
The Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf is part of a network of close to 900 child advocacy centers nationwide dedicated to child abuse treatment. Higgins’ team said child advocacy centers lessen the need for multiple interviews which can be retraumatizing to victims.
To reach the confidential National Child Abuse Hotline, call or text 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). To learn about the Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf currently expanding into a new location in downtown Buffalo, visit www.cacbuffalo.org.