Parents + Caregivers
Who do you provide services to?
Children’s Cove provides services to child victims aged 0-17 and their non-offending families or caregivers, as well as adult victims who have developmental disabilities. We serve all of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. We serve individuals regardless of their age, gender, language, medical condition, status or religious affiliation.
I believe my child tells me everything, wouldn’t they tell me if they were being abused?
Children who are, or have been, abused react very differently. Some children may not understand what has happened is not ok, they may be confused about relationships, feelings and sensations. Some children may be threatened, or their families and love ones threatened, to be harmed if they tell anyone. Some children are scared, embarrassed, feel shameful or afraid they will get in trouble. Only 1 in 10 children who have been abused ever disclose their abuse in their lifetime.
Who can I talk to if I have questions?
Staff at Children’s Cove are on-site Monday through Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm. If you have questions, concerns or would like to learn more about our services you can call us to talk.
What do I do if I suspect abuse?
If you suspect abuse, or have reviewed our Signs and Symptoms of Abuse page and believe a child is in danger, then it is important to get help for the child in need of support. Click the Get Help button for directions on how to get help. If you have questions about what to do or how to report, call us.
How do I know my child is telling the truth?
Children, in general, tend to be tremendously open and honest about their experiences. Children typically do not make up allegations of abuse. Ulterior motives, complicated planning and other reasons why someone would make a “false” allegation is typically not something a child developmentally can do. Children do have challenges at times using the correct terms, names and descriptions for experiences they’ve had, which may make it appears a child is not telling the truth, but really it is adults who don’t understand what they are trying to say.
What if the alleged offender is another child?
Adults are not the only perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Abuse is related to power, control or manipulation. There could be several reasons why another child may offend another, and depending on the nature of the offense, the child offender could face legal action, or a referral to counseling or therapeutic services.
What if the alleged offender is a family member?
It’s hard to think about, and even harder to believe that a family member or loved one is responsible for sexually abusing a child you care for. However, 90% of offenders are someone both the child and the caregiver knows loves and trusts, this includes family members. This makes the experience even more difficult for a child to understand, and is traumatic not only to the child, but to the rest of the family as well. If there is a disclosure it should be taken seriously, and Children’s Cove will support the entire non-offending family with healing and recovery.
I’m bringing my child in, is there anything I should do?
Your child should be told ahead of time about visiting Children’s Cove. We believe that your child should know exactly what will happen once they come through our doors. You can let your child know:
• They are not in any trouble.
• It is important that they talk about the truth.
• It is a safe place and the alleged offender will not be there.
• They will be talking to someone who talks to kids all the time about keeping kids safe.
• Explain that you will not be in the interview room with your child, but nearby in a waiting room and you will be there when they are finished.
What should I expect when we arrive?
On the day of the forensic interview:
• You will be greeted by an interviewer who will meet with you and your child (children) and go over any concerns you have before starting.
• The interviewer will meet one-on-one with your child in the interview room where a team will sit behind a one-way mirror to observe the interview.
• After the interview, the parent/caregiver will meet with the team to discuss what happened, talk about next steps to be taken, and discuss any referrals that need to be made.
What do services cost?
No one who has been a victim of abuse should have to pay for our services. All our services are free and our family advocate works with non-offending caregivers to find supports and services that are available for reduced or no cost in our community. Through the generosity of community agencies, we can provide transportation if needed to our center, including from Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.
How long will a visit be?
That answer is different for every child. It depends on several things, such as the age of a child, how much they have experienced, how much they want to talk, and whether a medical exam is requested. It’s best to be prepared to spend at least an hour, but up to three hours, at Children’s Cove if your child or loved one is coming in for an interview.
What is the medical exam like?
The medical exam is a non-invasive wellness exam. There is minimal physical contact with the child, no invasive instruments or tools are used, and the entire purpose is to make sure that your child or loved one’s body is ok. Parents have the option to sit in on the exam, and the child can tell our nurse to stop the exam at any time they feel uncomfortable. To learn more, visit our Medical Services page.
Does my child have to attend therapy?
All of our follow up services, such as a medical exam, family advocacy support and mental health coordination are optional. As the parent, you are in charge of the care of your child/loved one. However, early intervention, trauma informed therapy and connection to supports & services for those who have experienced abuse helps reduce the rates of mental illness, substance use and abuse, complex medical conditions, and helps with the recovery to lead a healthy and happy life.
If I have a question, can I talk with someone online?
Yes, we have an online chat service which connects you directly with a Children’s Cove team member. They can help answer basic questions about our services and support you in finding resources or information. To learn more about our chat and available hours, visit here.