Ginnie’s House provides a neutral, child-oriented and safe environment for children (under age of 18 years) and their non-offending caretakers. When a child discloses sexual or physical abuse or assault to a friend, guidance counselor at school, or a trusted family member, it is immediately reported to:
Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P)
Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office
973-383-1570 (8:30 AM to 4:30 PM)
Local Police Department in Sussex County or New Jersey State Police (911)
The process begins when a member of the investigative team receives a report of child sexual and physical abuse. The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) schedule a forensic interview of the child to include local law enforcement. Following the interview, the MDT Coordinator then works with the case investigation team to schedule any medical appointments and treatment/advocacy for the children and families.
The DCP&P is available to escort families to and from the Center when necessary. The Center can also assist with parking for families.
For non-English speaking clients, Ginnie’s House offers literature that is available in Spanish. Interpreters who can speak other languages are also available through DCP&P or the Prosecutor’s Office to facilitate the highest level of communication between our families and partners.
A forensic interview is an age-appropriate, culturally competent and legally defensible interview that gets recorded. The reason to do a single forensic interview is to reduce the amount of times that a child has to recount the often humiliating and painful incident to professionals who seem to the child to be strangers. One single interview which meets the needs of law enforcement, prosecution and child protection minimizes additional trauma to the child and the family while also ensuring procedural fairness to those accused of abuse.
During a forensic interview, facts or details of abuse are collected from the child who has allegedly been the victim of child or sexual abuse. This information can now be shared with other professionals (child protection workers, law enforcement officers, prosecuting attorneys, etc.) involved in the case.
Parents/guardians are not permitted to watch or view the interview. Members of the team will speak with parents/guardians following the interview to answer any questions and discuss what procedures will be taken next.
Children are interviewed in a child-friendly atmosphere by a certified child forensic interview specialist from the Prosecutor’s Office. Any discussion the Child Interview Specialist has with children is recorded while the investigative team is observing in another room. It’s our way of helping these young victims feel safe, secure and yet meet the need to share relevant information about their traumatic event with mandated response agencies.
For any child who may have been abused or maltreated, Ginnie’s House works closely with Dr. Navneesh Kabarwal (Dr. K.) and Forensic Nurses to provide a diagnoses, treat any conditions and refer for follow-up treatment. It’s also an opportunity to offer reassurance to the child that his/her body is ok.
However, if a child has injuries that need immediate medical treatment, the child should be seen at an emergency room.
What will happen during my child’s visit?
At Ginnie’s House, we are very sensitive to the fact that this is an extremely difficult time for the abused child and the family. Here, you will be greeted and welcomed by CAC staff. You and your child will then meet with the Forensic Nurse who will explain what is going to happen and will obtain additional information from you. The nurse can also assist with answering your questions and addressing your concerns. Staff and volunteers are always available to entertain and distract your child while you are speaking with the medical team .
Before the check-up a nurse will check your child’s height, weight, and blood pressure. You will then meet Dr. K who will ask questions about your child’s general health. Once your child feels comfortable, the physician will then talk to your child in private about why they are at the doctor today. The medical team are practiced in making children feel at ease – even those children who find it difficult to separate in other situations.
Your child will then have a full head to toe checkup. If your child is twelve years of age or older he/she will be able to choose whether or not he/she would like to have another person present in the room. After the check-up the doctor will discuss your child’s health and provide advice and any prescriptions or referrals for follow-up.
Child Therapy Program
Many times, children who have suffered abuse struggle with fears, anxiety, anger, sadness, guilt, shame and nightmares. They often can’t concentrate or have behavior problems at school. They may regress in their development, or struggle with tantrums and disobedience. They may even say they miss the abuser!
Ginnie’s House offers therapeutic services (in both English and Spanish) for Sussex County residents who are child abuse victims and who are not eligible for DCP&P services for whatever reason. Our services are available free of charge.
Therapy for the child is age and developmentally appropriate. The setting is child-friendly and safe. The therapeutic staff have experience in working with the trauma of child abuse and treatment for children is managed in a way that the child feels safe and special. Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the primary therapeutic modality, together with Play Therapy.
Techniques such as games, activity, writings, and art will address the issues, which include dynamics of the disclosure, secrecy, guilt, self-blame, and family disruption. The treatment is also integrated to include addressing intrusive memories, nightmares, tantrums, self-esteem, and problems with concentration at school. The child will learn a variety of coping mechanisms, including relaxation, deep breathing, and release play. If needed, treatment may include preparation for testimony.
The Ginnie’s House Family Advocate Program is crucial to the recovery of abused children and their families. The single greatest predictor of how well a child will recover is the support and understanding that a parent/caregiver can give. That is why Ginnie’s House works with a Licensed Social Worker to provide psychoeducational support for non-offending caregivers.
The Family Advocate provides education to both individuals and groups about the roles of the investigating agencies at the center, how the investigation will proceed, and the systems that are in place to help children and families. She meets with the family to review their situation and discusses support services such as counseling, medical care, housing, domestic violence, safety concerns, educational issues, employment, financial assistance, food, clothing and other basic needs. Based on the family’s needs, the Family Advocate provides referrals for services located either on site or close to the family’s home.
The parent/caregiver support groups run both in the morning and in the evening for 8 weeks with available childcare on-site. Sometimes, a child group can run at the same time as the parent group.
When appropriate, the Family Advocate can assist with completion of Victims of Crime Compensation paperwork which can provide funds for services to victims of crimes.