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CARE House Expands PSB Program to Better Serve Local Youth

CARE House of the Pee Dee expanded their PSB (Problematic Sexual Behavior) Program to include youth ages 13-14 who act out sexually. The local Children’s Advocacy Center initially launched the evidence based treatment program in March of 2022 for children ages 7-12, making the CARE House the first in the region to offer the treatment. Since then, the program has graduated three cohorts of children and their supportive caregivers who completed the approximately 6-month long evidence-based treatment.

Problematic Sexual Behavior - Cognitive Behavior Therapy (PSB-CBT) is a trauma-informed therapy, which boasts a 98% success rate for children with sexual behavior issues as well as other behavior issues.

Simply put – Problematic Sexual Behaviors are child-initiated behaviors, which are sexual in nature, developmentally inappropriate and may be harmful to the child or others. Examples include inappropriate sexual interactions with other children, public displays of sexual behaviors, and excessive engagement with sexually explicit materials.

“PSB treatment in our community provides support to families who have felt as though there were no answers or resources. It allows the community to have access to these additional resources and therapy for behaviors that aren't as easy to address, as well as, provide knowledge and understanding to deal with problematic sexualized behaviors and strengthen families,” said Amanda Pelfrey, MS LPCA, one of the CARE House therapist trained on the model.

According to national data, 20-25% of cases handled by Children’s Advocacy Centers, centers which provide services to child abuse victims, involve a child sexually acting out on another child. These behaviors are common. They are serious, but are fixable and for caregivers looking for support: there is hope.

Research shows that with effective evidence based treatment, children with Problematic Sexual Behaviors can go on to lead healthy lives free of such conduct. According to long-term data from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center who developed the model, PSB-CBT has a 2% recidivism rate – meaning that long-term only 2% of children who have received the treatment go on to re-present the behaviors later in life. “By offering PSB for ages 7-14, it covers a wide range for children, teens, and their families to increase their understanding of behavioral management, while providing prevention for future concerns or repeat behaviors,” continued Pelfrey.

The treatment offered at CARE House is administered within a group model to children and youth, ages 7-14, and their caregivers. Child and caregiver groups meet simultaneously for an hour each week and are led by a team of Master’s level clinicians.

To date, the CARE House remains one of only four providers in the state and the only provider in the region to offer the therapy. An open group approach allows families to join the treatment on a rolling basis following an initial clinical assessment.

The CARE House is currently accepting referrals for PSB-CBT. Local agencies and providers can also request a presentation to learn more about Problematic Sexual Behaviors, the treatment model and the CARE House referral process.

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