East Texas Trauma and Abuse Services for Kids

The Mission of TASK

Our mission at the East Texas Trauma and Abuse Services for Kids (TASK) program is to enhance the level of care to abused children and their families by working with existing providers and by educating  tomorrow’s providers through coaching and teaching, building collaborative relationships and supporting and providing services across East Texas.

At TASK We …

Coach and Teach

… clinical skills to trainees in psychology, psychiatry, professional counseling, social work, nursing and pediatrics.

Build Collaborative Relationships

… with colleges, universities and medical / nursing training programs to support the development and implementation of child abuse recognition and response curriculum, and the teaching and supervision of clinical skills.

Support Our Partners

… our collaborative partners, the 13 Child Advocacy Centers (CACs), across the greater East Texas region through training, consultation, program development, program evaluation and placement of trainees at the CACs to provide direct care to children and their families.

Provide Services Throughout East Texas

… direct services through the CACs or through telehealth as needed.

Why is there a need for TASK?

It surprises many families, legislators, and professionals to learn that child abuse receives very little attention in the graduate and professional training institutions across the United States and across all disciplines. Moreover, there are no systematic licensure requirements by any state for training in child abuse. For example, medical students may receive a few lectures in their Behavioral Science Course, interns from psychology or counseling may attend a seminar, or there may be a guest lecturer from the community to speak about assessment and referrals to undergraduate or graduate students in nursing or social work.

In fact most people are surprised, if not shocked to learn that from 1998 to 2000, pediatric chief residents from 138 programs (licensed physicians) were surveyed, and 36% were unable to correctly identify and label a photograph of genitalia in a non-abused, pre-pubescent female (Dubow, Giardino, Christian, & Johnson, 2005). Consider also that labeling normal genitalia does not require the special knowledge and experience of differentiating normal from atypical findings in a sexually abused female child.

Furthermore, similar deficits in basic knowledge exist for registered nurses, law enforcement officers, and social workers (Hibbard & Zollinger, 1990) with only 47% of all professionals (N = 902) correctly noting that “Children who are sexually abused may have positive feelings about the experience at the time.” For those with a keen eye, you might note that these studies are somewhat old, however, little has been published on these topics directly, and training programs continue to give little attention to basic knowledge let alone the clinical skills necessary to assess and treat abused children.

TASK is Not …

TASK is not here to replace the work being done at local Children’s Advocacy Centers.  We are here to support and provide services to the CACs.

TASK is not here to replace those already providing quality education to our professionals working with abused children and their families.  We want to build relationships with other professional organizations.

The Value of TASK

There are not enough discussions about child abuse. There are deficits in basic knowledge related to child abuse.

There is not enough teaching about child abuse. There is no systematic training in child abuse, even in related fields like psychology, education, social work and medicine.

Individuals are not certified to work with child abuse outcries. There are no systematic licensure requirements by any current state for child abuse.


  • More than 170 staff and graduate students trained in assessment or screening
  • Training of teachers on abuse and trauma through the Region 7 Education Service Center
  • Presentations at two universities; outreach to 7 additional universities and two junior colleges
  • Sponsorship of 1-year-long training of the staff at 5 CACs in our region for working with young children who exhibit problematic sexual behavior
  • Ongoing train of psychology interns and medical residents at UTHSC at Tyler
  • Therapy provided directly to children at their local CAC
  • Psychological evaluations of children at their local CAC