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Spotlight on Access Family Services


This month, Benchmarks is spotlighting Access Family Services and welcomes them to the Standardized Assessment Protocol (SAP) team.

Access Family Services (AFS) is a behavioral health agency that has been serving children and families throughout North Carolina since 1999. Their mission is to deliver culturally sensitive behavioral health services to individuals and families in the community using evidence-based practices to improve overall functioning and well-being. Access Family Services is a proud subsidiary of Pathways Human Services of North Carolina, LLC whose areas of focus include trauma work, family preservation, stabilization in the home, family, & community, as well as improvement of functioning in all areas of life.

has recently partnered with Benchmarks to provide Trauma-intensive Comprehensive Clinical Assessments (TiCCAs) for Cabarrus County Department of Human Services. Access Family Services clinicians are accepting child welfare referrals for TiCCAs for children four and over who have endured traumatic experiences or demonstrated trauma symptoms. AFS is offering holistic treatment recommendations for these children and their families. When asked why AFS wanted to be involved in the SAP project, Regional Director Stuart McClain and Clinical Team Leader Deidra Onuorah had this to say:         

“Trauma-informed care is a fundamental component of all our quality services provided. Access Family Services clinicians are able to access the appropriate levels of care after a traumatic event has occurred. Trauma-informed care is vital to delivering optimal services to children in the community and is a reason why AFS wanted to be involved with the SAP project within Cabarrus County. Access Family Services takes pride in employing the best clinicians across the state to deliver services to our clients. Having our clinicians trained as TiCCA clinicians adds another layer of clinical expertise to our valued clinical staff.”

These two leaders at Access Family Services made it clear that the agency believes that trauma-informed work is clinically important because it “unequivocally assists with determining the way we move forward with services for our clients.” This belief is what aided them in their decision to move forward with the SAP project. Deidra explained that trauma presents itself in many different forms, and that it is their responsibility as clinicians and mental health advocates to support clients in identifying their trauma with competence and compassion. This trauma-informed framework ensures clients and staff have physical and emotional safety, empowerment, and self-determination.

The trauma-informed approach used by AFS reflects the overall goal of Benchmarks' TiCCA work to ensure that children receive a quality assessment early in their system involvement, to allow children to remain and be treated in their home communities preventing further traumatization and removal to higher levels of care. Benchmarks looks forward to working with Access Family Services through the SAP project in the coming year!

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