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Carly Barrows-Compton, MSW, LCSW, has been involved with SCAN for several years, but recently joined the SCAN team full-time as a Child Advocacy Center Trauma-Focused Treatment Therapist. The CAC TFT program offers high-quality, comprehensive mental health services to children who have been victims of child sexual and/or severe physical abuse and witnesses to violence. CAC TFT therapists also offer individual and group sessions for caregivers, and joint sessions for children and caregivers. This work is done through a trauma-informed and equity lens and services are available to families regardless of ability to pay. We are thrilled to have Carly’s expertise, passion for clinical work, and kindness as part of SCAN.
How did you first get involved with SCAN?
I became a SCAN volunteer during my undergraduate career at VCU and it was then that I discovered the amazing work being done by SCAN. As a survivor of childhood trauma, SCAN’s mission has always been very close to my heart. In 2012, I needed to complete an internship for my MSW program. When my initial internship didn’t work out, I sought out SCAN. Although they didn’t have any current openings, SCAN created an internship within the CASA program and I was with CASA for one year. Working with CASA was such a great experience as I learned so much about the court process while in this role. This knowledge continues to be helpful even now as I am better able to explain the court process to my clients and their families.
What has your life/work experience been that brought you to SCAN?
After graduating with my MSW from VCU, I became a social worker at VCU Health. I worked in the Emergency Department for two years and then with the Child Protection Team for three years. During this time I was reconnected with SCAN and the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) as I represented the Child Protection Team on various Multidisciplinary Teams. In 2017, I became an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and my passion for direct clinical work continued to grow. I was then hired as a part-time trauma-focused therapist at the CAC. In January 2020, I transitioned to a full-time position.
What inspires you to stay involved with your work at SCAN?
The support I receive from everyone at SCAN has been such a huge inspiration. Everyone has been so welcoming and supportive. SCAN staff are all so passionate about this work, always learning and growing and always willing to share what they learn with others. The focus on trauma-informed work in terms of clients, the community and staff has also been amazing and something I have never experienced before.
Is there anything you wish other people knew about SCAN?
I really wish people knew more about the services offered through SCAN as well as the day to day work that goes into creating those services for children and families.
What has been the best experience with SCAN so far?
Witnessing the progress that children and families are able to make with the support of SCAN staff is incredible. SCAN staff goes above and beyond to ensure families have what they need to be successful. It such an inspiration to witness how resilient children and families can be in the face of the trauma they’ve experienced. I also appreciate the investment that SCAN makes to ensure ongoing professional development for staff.
Do you have any goals or hopes for the next year with SCAN?
Yes! I hope to continue to learn and grow as a clinician and gain certification in various treatment modalities. I’m also working to develop a teen girls support group that will cover topics such as; self-esteem, identity, healthy relationships, trauma, coping/stress management, communication and personal development. This group will provide a safe and supportive space for teen girls and aid in normalizing their experiences.
Are you involved with any other community organizations, hobbies, or activities?
I am involved with the Trauma-Informed Community Network. I also have a passion for nutrition therapy that I hope to share with staff and families at the CAC as food directly impacts many aspects of health and wellness, including mood and other mental health symptoms. I am also interested in addressing food insecurity and identifying creative ways for addressing this such as community gardens and cooking classes for children and families.
What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I have an undergraduate degree in criminal justice as well and initially planned to become a homicide detective. After learning more about trauma, I chose to focus more on prevention and ultimately decided to pursue a career in social work.
Learn more about SCAN’s Child Advocacy Centers and Trauma-Focused Treatment program.