Little Warriors is partnered with researchers at the University of Alberta through the Department of Psychiatry to oversee and measure the outcomes of the Be Brave Ranch treatment program.
Ongoing evaluation and quantitative data analysis is conducted and reviewed through a Scientific and Clinical Council, led by Dr. Peter Silverstone (Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta) and involving several other leading University specialists. This Council provides feedback and supports the clinical team so that programs operate in accordance with clinical best practices and all applicable regulations.
Background: Difficulties in access to therapy were highlighted by COVID-19 measures restricting in-person gatherings. Additional challenges arise when focusing on caregivers of child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors in particular, which are a population that has been historically difficult to engage with due to issues of stigma and confidentiality.
Objectives: To present preliminary qualitative results from caregivers of CSA survivors.
Methods: This study was conducted with caregivers of CSA survivors. Two hybrid webinar/focus groups were conducted using a video conferencing platform in fall of 2021 with two groups of stakeholders (11 caregivers and 5 moderators/clinical staff at Little Warriors, an intensive episodic treatment facility). Sessions were recorded, transcribed, and thematically-analyzed using standard qualitative methodology.
Results: A total of 11 caregivers contributed to the data. Themes include: (1) Challenges of starting and maintaining treatment (i.e., emotional impact of intake day, challenges of enrolling), (2) Therapeutic benefits of specialized treatment (i.e., feeling safe and supported and the importance of trauma-informed care), and (3) Barriers and facilitators of treatment (i.e., avenues to scale-up and self-care).
Conclusion: The importance of a strong therapeutic alliance was highlighted by both caregivers/clinical staff and further support is needed for families post-treatment. The present hybrid webinar/focus group also achieved engagement goals in a population that is typically difficult to reach. Overall, the response rate (12%) was equivalent to reported registrant attendance rates for general business to consumer webinars and the recommended focus group size. This preliminary approach warrants replication in other populations outside our clinical context.