Federal grant will help child victims of crime, place two trauma-informed therapists in Washington County School District

Southern Utah

ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – Child victims of crimes in Southern Utah will soon have a new resource to help them recover from trauma after a federal grant was recently awarded to the Washington County Children’s Justice Center.

The Children’s Justice Center received a $237,000 grant from the Victims of Crime Act and will now be able to place two trauma-informed therapists who will float throughout all schools in the Washington County School District, according to WCCJC director Kristy Pike.

Pike said she hopes to have the therapists stationed in the next week or two, with the goal to intervene as early as possible to help prevent further trauma in the lives of child victims of crime, sexual abuse, neglect, and domestic violence.

“Kids who have been a victim of a crime or a traumatic incident need between 8 to 12 sessions of therapy to get over that trauma,” Pike said.

But Pike said that often families under stress are further burdened by needing to pull their kids out of school for therapy, while local trauma therapists struggle to meet the high demand for after-school sessions.

Now, officials said two therapists in schools will be able to make huge strides in meeting the community’s needs, while also helping to prevent a severe problem in Southern Utah — children being sex trafficked.

“Depending on which study you look at, between 40 to 97 percent of those kids have been in the child welfare system before,” Pike added. “If we can intervene early, we can do a better job of helping these kids have healthy, normal futures.”

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