Help for abuse is available

The letter from “an adult survivor of child abuse” brings up several important points.

First, the writer comments that there are no support groups for adult survivors of child abuse in St. Louis. Women’s Support and Community Services (314-531-2003) is one agency that offers such a group, as well as the YWCA. In addition, Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF &CS) would be more than willing to offer such a group under Jewish auspices with no charge to participants. All that we need is a sufficient number of people to allow for a viable group experience. Those interested in participating should call Rochelle Novack, coordinator of Intake Services, at 314-993-1000.

Second, is the writer’s point that psychiatric services are not available at JF &CS. Through a contract with St. Louis County, the Family Mental Health Collaborative, of which JF &CS is a member, makes available medical psychiatric services (at JF &CS) for St. Louis County residents without insurance. To access this assistance call Rochelle Novack at 314-993-1000. In addition, JF &CS offers counseling services based on a sliding scale. Nobody is turned away due to an inability to pay a fee. Community funding through the Jewish Federation and United Way campaigns each year helps to make counseling services available to anybody in need.

Third, the writer illustrates how often consumers may be unaware of the resources that are, in fact, available in the community. My offer to the writer is to call me directly at 314-812-9356 so that we can discuss his or her particular situation in order to make sure that both JF &CS and community resources are identified and provided.

JF &CS has a long-standing program in child abuse prevention (CAPP) which currently reaches over 17,000 people each year.

The program, which provides preventive safety education services for children, their parents and teachers, was developed after an agency survey in the early 1990s showed that a very high percentage of adults seeking counseling reported that they had experienced childhood sexual abuse and that it was currently affecting them. Counseling services for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse has been an ongoing component of the agency’s clinical program.

The CAPP coordinator, Jennifer Bernstein, can be reached at 314-993-1000 to schedule school presentations for 2008.

By shining a light on the problem of sexual abuse, the writer may help other survivors to step forward to access help offered by the Jewish community.

L. Louis Albert, MSW, LCSW

Executive Director

Jewish Family & Children’s Service