The Child Exposed to Domestic Violence program (CEDV) is designed for children ages 2½ to 17 years old who have witnessed violence in their home, school or community. Masters-level, licensed clinicians assess and evaluate youth and conduct individual and group therapy sessions in a safe, friendly and nurturing environment. Clinicians also provide advocacy to children and adolescents and work with school and other youth service organizations to increase their understanding of and ability to care for traumatized youth. Our goal is to help them develop language that will allow them to express their feelings and process traumatic events so they can begin to heal.
During counselling sessions, 6-year-old Cassie avoided talking about her mother who had been murdered several months ago by a former boyfriend. She did talk about her grandmother, who was now her guardian, “My grandma and I like to play games after school, and every night we make a snack together and go over my homework. On Fridays we go out to eat, but I don’t understand why we don’t go to Alice’s Restaurant anymore. It was my favorite restaurant, and my mom’s too.”
A few weeks later, she said, “My grandma and I had a fight. I told her I wanted to go to Alice’s for my birthday, and she said no.” Cassie started crying and said her grandmother never even says her Mom’s name anymore. “I don’t want to forget my mom. I love her, and I don’t know how to tell my grandma that I want to talk about her sometimes.”
The counselor talked to Cassie’s grandmother about this and found out she was only trying not to upset Cassie by talking about her mom. Once this was out in the open Cassie and her grandmother started talking about her mom more, and even went to Alice’s on her birthday.