Medical and mental health referrals

Medical and mental health referrals

Low and no-cost medical exams and mental health referrals are available, even for family members

Sylvia’s CAC has partnered with local and regional physicians, counselors, and therapists so we can provide children and families who come to the CAC with expedited low- or no-cost medical exams and mental health services.

These services are optional, but highly recommended. Your Victim Advocate can answer any questions you have. Generally, children and caregivers receive a physical wellness exam, a lot like a check-up, shortly after their visit to the CAC. Mental health counseling can be made available right away or even years from now.

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What parents and caregivers should know about medical exams

Medical exams ensure everyone is okay

The team will help you decide if your child needs a medical exam. They’re a way to ensure everyone that your child’s physical health is okay. Medical wellness exams are rarely about collecting evidence. Instead, they:

  • Make sure your child’s body is okay.
  • Help answer any questions that you or your child may have about their bodies.
  • May assist DCS and/or law enforcement in their investigation.
  • Check for adverse or serious health issues, if indicated.

If one is needed, a DCS caseworker will accompany you to the exam. It’s important to remind your child they’re safe and not in any trouble. There are no restraints, sedatives, or injections. They are very much like a physical.

A male doctor examines a young girl in a hospital while her mother smiles in the background.
A young girl sits on a couch while a female therapist listens and documents what she's saying.

Mental health referrals are also available

Counseling for children and even the adults involved after a crime against a child are highly recommended. Children may be uncomfortable discussing abuse with parents or caregivers because of shame, guilt, or other complex emotions and their feelings often evolve over time.

Mental health therapists apply specialized trauma-informed training, knowledge, and experience to help ensure your child heals and recovers. 

We can help you navigate insurance and other costs and find a professional neear you. Most providers will expedite the child’s intake when referred from us.

FAQs about medical and mental health referrals from Sylvia’s CAC

What are the costs?

Most medical exams are provided at no-cost to families. Mental health services and counseling vary depending on the child’s need, the kind of service provided (e.g., one-on-one vs. telehealth), and insurance is recommended but not require. There are options to help cover costs.

What about counseling for adults?

Adult caregivers often need counseling and we can help refer you to specialists in this kind of care. Support groups are another option and have proven very useful for many people.

Can I just talk to my regular doctor?

Yes, it’s your right to talk to your regular family physician. The difference in our service is the doctors and nurses we refer to are specialists in trauma-informed care. They have significant amounts of experience and training specifically for helping document, talk to, work with, and examine child abuse patients.

Are medical exams necessary?

Most of the time the exam finds nothing serious with most children. They are, however, a genuinely good way of providing peace of mind to you and your child. In a small number of cases investigators may determine a medical exam is necessary to help collect evidence, document the child’s physical condition for prosecution later, or ensure the health of the child.

What if we don’t or can’t start counseling right away?

Sometimes kids can’t or don’t want to start counseling right away. Perhaps they’re young or just haven’t had time to understand or process their feelings. That’s why your Victim Advocate will refer you when they’re ready, even if it’s weeks, months, or even years after the abuse or crime occurred.

Browse dozens of local services around Boone County

Your Victim Advocate can help you find many useful services that fit your needs, location, schedule, and income. But you can also browse our Boone County Services Directory for shelters, food banks, things to do, medical services, therapists, and more.

Browse the Boone County Resource Guide

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