Established 30 years ago, the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) is a multidisciplinary family advocacy center that provides medical, forensic, mental health, advocacy and supportive services to victims of child abuse, neglect, sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and dependent adult abuse. VIP programs include: the VIP Community Mental Health Center, Inc.(VIP-CMHC); the Community-Based Assessment and Treatment Center (CATC); the Sexual Assault Center; a 24-Hour Domestic Violence and Crisis Response Team; the Pediatric Extended Care Center/Mental Health “eCARE” ; the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Clinic; the Adult Protection Team; and the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center.
VIP focuses on intervention, treatment and prevention, and functions as a public-private partnership that includes the LAC+USC Medical Center where the LAC+USC VIP HUB is located. This HUB is the largest in the County of Los Angeles, and according to Los Angeles County 2008-2009 Civil Grand Jury, representing more than three times as many children as Los Angeles County’s next largest HUB. The VIP HUB is the only HUB open 24/7 and supported by satellite services in East San Gabriel Valley. The HUB currently provides medical and mental health assessments as a collaborative between DHS, DCFS and VIP-CMHC funded through a contract with DMH.
The VIP-CMHC was opened thirteen years ago as an independent nonprofit agency to provide comprehensive mental health and support services for child victims and their nonoffending family members. It provides individual, group, and family therapy; developmental screening and referrals; psychological assessments and testing; case management and assistance with housing and basic needs; health and parenting education; academic advocacy; mentoring and tutoring; and therapeutic arts and crafts activities. All services are bilingual and multicultural. VIP-CMHC is incorporated as a 501(c)3 exempt nonprofit corporation, and is governed by a seven member volunteer Board of Directors that provides fiscal oversight, resource development, and professional expertise.
The primary goal of the pre-doctoral internship is to provide comprehensive training leading to competency as a practicing psychologist. All of the didactic and experiential components of this program have been developed to allow interns to assume increasing responsibilities as they move towards greater autonomy over the internship course. Thus, the program fosters the development of professional competencies as well as professional identity as a psychologist. The program also fosters the development of multicultural competence.
The VIP serves an estimated 20,000 victims of violence each year. Approximately 88% are Latino, 4% African American, 4% Caucasian, 2% Asian, and 2% other. The VIP draws a majority of clients from the neighborhoods surrounding LAC+USC Medical Center, victims and service providers from all over the County rely on the VIP’s continuous and comprehensive intervention and treatment services.
The internship provides supervised clinical and didactic experiences with a particular emphasis on fostering multicultural competence and a deep grounding in ethical principles. Each intern is expected to develop strong clinical skills with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds and gain a secure sense of self as a competent and ethical psychology professional. Interns also gain experience in outreach and consultation.
The internship is based on the practitioner-scholar model. The program values experiential learning with formal supervision as well as informal opportunities to consult with staff as needed. The internship program also values research and critical thinking skills, and interns are encouraged to integrate recent research into their work and to learn about and employ empirically-based practices. The training program also values collaboration and consultation, and interns are invited and encouraged to foster collaborative relationships with all members of the staff.