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Psychological First Aid Guide for Children's Advocacy Center Supervisors

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2024
38 pages

This guide provides information to support staff in a children’s advocacy center setting; it is geared toward supervisors and leaders in CACs regardless of professional training or background, and is divided into two main sections providing an overview of the psychological first aid (PFA) approach, and PFA-CAC concepts, principles, and core actions.


This guide was created in order to support the staff of children’s advocacy centers (CACs) who have been exposed to critical incidents and may be concerned about their physical or psychological safety. It emphasizes the importance of providing support after critical incidents in order to decrease the risk of secondary traumatic stress (STS) or becoming emotionally overwhelmed. The Psychological First Aid (PFA-CAC) describes the concepts and practices that any supervisor can employ when a critical incident has occurred in the CAC. The guide provides detailed information about PFA-CAC concepts, including debriefing approaches, how PFA-CAC differs from debriefing, and the most important factor in minimizing the impact of a critical incident; and PFA-CAC Principles, including the eight core actions of PFA-CAC, PFA-CAC as a “first aid” approach, and taking cues from the affected staff member, PFA-CAC as a modular approach. It also provides details on the eight core actions, which are: contact and engagement; safety and comfort; stabilization; information gathering; practical assistance; connection with social support; information and coping; and linkage with external support.

Date Published: January 1, 2024