CAC Staffing

Supervising and Retaining Remote Clinicians

Your new clinician will require two types of supervision: administrative supervision and clinical supervision.

  • As with a local employee based in-house at the CAC, identify who the remote therapist will report to; this may be the CAC director or someone else designated by the director based on the size of your center.
  • The administrative supervisor should set up at least weekly supervision for the first month, or longer as needed. After orientation is complete, and the clinician knows what is expected of them, the frequency of administrative supervision meetings can be reduced to every other week but ideally should not drop below monthly.
  • Administrative supervision should be supplemented by clinical supervision conducted by a senior clinical professional. Clinical supervision addresses clinical dilemmas the remote therapist encounters in therapy and ensures quality delivery of evidence-based assessment and therapy consistent with the NCA’s National Standards of Accreditation for Children’s Advocacy Centers.
  • Assuming the CAC does not employ such a professional, it will be necessary to secure the services of a qualified supervisor. One option may be to engage the clinical supervisor of a CAC in the region where the new employee resides if that center has a well-regarded mental health program. An alternative would be a clinical supervisor affiliated with a mental health agency your CAC already has a linkage agreement with.
Build connections.

Without the in-person connections, it is easy for remote employees to become disconnected from the main office. Find ways to build social as well as professional connections with the rest of your team. Consider how to create a staff experience for your remote employee that is on par with that of someone working in-house.

It is also important to include the remote therapist when multiple people from the CAC and MDT attend state or national conferences together. This is another important networking strategy that enhances the knowledge and skills of all involved.

Recommended Article

A great article that addresses telemental health onboarding and supervision issues for staff at CACs is The Fast and the Furious: The Rapid Implementation of Tele-mental Health Practices Within a Children’s Advocacy Center (Conradi, Hazen, & Covert, 2022)

Address indirect trauma.

Trauma therapy has inherent risk of indirect exposure to raw, painful material as children describe traumatic events in their lives, often with great sensory detail. Their disclosures can affect anyone exposed to it and require intentional strategies to cope with the impact. A professional working alone, in their home, hundreds of miles from the support of peers at the CAC is particularly susceptible to the deleterious effects of a trauma-exposed workplace.

Staff need to be educated by their supervisors in indirect trauma “self-awareness.” Self-awareness means recognizing the impact that traumatic material is having and exploring what has worked to mitigate its impact in the past.

No one should have to manage primary and secondary traumatic stress alone. A key role for the clinical supervisor of the tele-therapist will be to help them be aware of these indirect trauma stresses and give them permission to talk about what they are experiencing.

Resources for Addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress

The sites below provide research-supported resources related to supporting staff with secondary traumatic stress:

Resources from Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center: 

Resources from the Secondary Traumatic Stress Innovations and Solutions Center (STS-ISC) at the University of Kentucky Center on Trauma and Children: 


Page Last Updated: June 2024

Take a Deeper Dive

For more information, check out the WRCAC Telemental Health Issue Brief on Recruiting, Hiring, Supervising, and Retaining Remote Therapists for Rural Children’s Advocacy Centers 

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