Forensic Interviewing & Trial Preparation

When there is a report of abuse or neglect a child victim is interviewed by law enforcement. A recorded forensic interview at Deirdre’s House allows a child to tell their story only a single time in a child-friendly, age-appropriate, culturally sensitive manner. This is critical to allowing the child to tell their story and immediately begin to heal because the child is not forced to relive the trauma by having to tell their story over and over again.

In Morris County, any child under the age of 12 must be interviewed at Deirdre’s House by specially trained detectives from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. These interviews are digitally recorded. Children over the age of 12, at the discretion of local law enforcement, may also be interviewed at Deirdre’s House. The non-threatening atmosphere of Deirdre’s House greatly contributes to the ability of the child victim to relax and more freely disclose the details of the abuse, which are oftentimes embarrassing and deeply personal. Deirdre’s House is available to law enforcement and child protective services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Deirdre’s House is also a safe and comfortable meeting place for prosecutors, detectives, victims, and witnesses to prepare for court appearances and trials.

Clinical Counseling: Individual and Group Clinical Counseling

When a child is abused or neglected, their life is altered. As a community we cannot change that, but what we can do is make sure that their life is not forever defined by it. Counseling for child victims is not a luxury; it is a necessity for healing — just as if a child had a broken arm or leg that needed to be set.

Deirdre’s House provides individual clinical counseling to child victims, effected family members, and non-offending caregivers (NOC’s) who do not have private insurance or an open case with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. Each child’s treatment is unique and based on their individual needs. Therapeutic techniques include art and play therapy, family sessions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and EMDR. Support is also provided during court proceedings. Counseling sessions are free of charge and can be conducted in either English or Spanish.

Research shows treatment is more successful when parents and caregivers are involved in the process. The most important way a caregiver can help the child is by supporting them and listening when/if they choose to share. Practicing the skills and techniques they learn in therapy and reinforcing positive behaviors, can greatly contribute to the progress made in therapy.

Parenting and Survivors Groups

 Isolation is often experienced during the healing process. The benefit of knowing they are not alone can be comforting and empowering.  

Deirdre’s House offers current clients the opportunity to participate in a variety of support groups in both English and Spanish. These support and educational groups enhance the process of healing which help strengthen and empower the participants. Child care is provided by trained interns and volunteers, free of charge, for children of group attendees.

Community Education & Prevention

We as a community are the first line of defense for children who may be suffering silently among us. By learning to recognize and report the signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, you could save a child’s life.

At the request of schools, day care centers, corporations, and other community groups, Deirdre’s House will provide on-site training related to the identification, prevention, and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Trainings are tailored to meet the needs of each individual group.

In addition, Deirdre’s House hosts annual trainings on emerging issues in child welfare, child abuse prevention, and treatment of child victims for child welfare professionals, teachers, school staff, law enforcement, clinical counselors, and the general public. Please see a listing of upcoming trainings under News and Events.

Scholarship & Assistance Programs

Children who have been exposed to abuse face a variety of challenges well beyond their initial trauma. They often exhibit isolation, anti-social behavior, low self-esteem, depression, and an impaired ability to function successfully in social and school situations.

Deirdre’s House aims to help current clients who have been abused, neglected, or witnessed domestic violence to increase the child’s independence, academic performance, and self-esteem.

D.E.A.R. (Day Education Arts & Recreation) Camp Scholarships are awarded for children to participate in a variety of activities to during the summer months.

S.H.I.N.E. Scholarships are awarded for extracurricular activities and community programs throughout the year.

Healing Fund

It can be difficult for non-offending caregivers to focus on healing when they are struggling to meet their family’s basic needs, especially if the abuser is a caregiver. With the Morris County Area being one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, these families encounter greater difficulties.

The Healing Fund provides temporary monetary assistance to children and their families for crisis and emergency situations such as imminent utility shut off, health and hygiene costs (medical, dental or vision needs, grooming and hygiene items and services). The support that the funding provides allows non-offending caregivers and child victims to focus their attention on the healing process and regain financial and emotional stability.

Morris County Multi-Disciplinary Team

The Multi-Disciplinary Team brings together various disciplines that coordinate their efforts so that every child and family deserves the justice, respect, and services they so desperately need.

In order to maximize services, minimize trauma, and ensure the needs of the victim and his/her family are being met, Deirdre’s House operates as part of a county-wide, multi-disciplinary system. The MDT consists of professionals from Deirdre’s House and Morris County agencies such as Law Enforcement, Child Protective Services, Medical and Mental Health Professionals, Victim Advocates, and Social Service Providers. MDT provides a coordinated and collaborative response by evaluating and providing comprehensive assessment and consultation in abuse cases. The team promotes coordination between agencies, identifies any service gaps, and ensures that the interests and goals of all concerned parties are addressed.