When there is a report of abuse …..

When a child is abused or neglected……

Isolation is often experienced…….

We as a community are the first line….

Children who have been exposed to abuse ……..

It can be difficult for non-offending ……

The Multi-Disciplinary Team brings…….

There is a critical need for safe……

Medical examinations of child victims are essential…..

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, 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.→(LINK HERE THAT DIRECTS TO PAGE).

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.

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.

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

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.

Respite Care

There is a critical need for safe, appropriate, no-cost childcare for caregivers who are attempting to obtain legal protection, attend court or utilize other case-specific services.

Respite care is provided at the Center for children up to 17 years of age while their non-offending caregiver is pursuing legal protection for the family or other related court matters. By providing free, safe, and reliable childcare, the Center hopes to improve the attendance of non-offending caregivers at necessary legal proceedings. Referrals must be scheduled by agency personnel such as Jersey Battered Women’s Shelter, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, and Division of Child Protection & Permanency, etc.

Medical Evaluations

Medical examinations of child victims are essential for diagnosis, treatment, and evidence gathering. After abuse has occurred, it is important for a child to know that his or her body is ok. Having early access to a comprehensive health screening and medical treatment can be life-saving to a child.

During this sensitive time, a Child Abuse Pediatrician who has completed a fellowship in the diagnosis and treatment of child abuse, will assist the child and family to feel more at ease and comfortable. In collaboration with Audrey Hepburn Children’s House/Hackensack University Medical Center, Deirdre’s House is the Morris County location for these evaluations. Child victims of abuse who need immediate medical attention are served in hospital emergency rooms.

Medical Evaluations are essential obtain accurate history and documentation of any medical findings of the abuse and provide reassurance to child victims and their families. Evaluations are available for children whose abuse allegations are being investigated by law enforcement and/or child protection services. Exams are noninvasive and performed by the Child Abuse Pediatrician. It is important to remember that in many situations, medical evidence of abuse is rarely found. While discovering evidence can be one reason for a medical examination, the primary reason is the health and well-being of the child.

Comprehensive Health Evaluation (CHEC) ensures that all children from infancy to 21 years of age in foster placement have their medical and mental health needs assessed. Exams are noninvasive and performed by the Child Abuse Pediatrician. Children placed in foster, kinship or resource family care under DCP&P supervision are required to have a CHEC.