The Problematic Sexual Behavior Program (PSB) is a comprehensive statewide response to problematic sexual behaviors between minors in New Jersey. The PSB program will ensure all youth involved in PSB – both the youth engaging in PSB and the youth impacted by the behaviors – and their caregivers will have access to specialized medical and mental health services. The program includes four primary components – a referral process, training, funding administration, and oversight and accountability.

What is Problematic Sexual Behavior?

Problematic Sexual Behaviors are deviations from normative or typical sexual behavior. They are child-initiated behaviors involving sexual body parts (i.e., genitals, anus, buttocks, or breasts) and are developmentally inappropriate and/or potentially harmful to themselves or others. Problematic sexual behaviors in children are not limited to an age range, cultural background, socioeconomic levels, or family structure. Children who engage in PSBs may have been exposed to inappropriate sexual material online, experienced neglect or family violence in their homes, or have been victims of sexual abuse.


In 20-25% of cases handled by Children’s Advocacy Centers (National Children’s Alliance 2015), youth, or children under age 18 have sexually acted out against another child.In New Jersey, there have been between 15%-30% of cases referred to the Children’s Advocacy Centers and Regional Diagnostic and Treatment Centers that involved an initiator/actor* who is a minor (NJ Problematic Sexual Behavior Workgroup 2022).

*child/youth who has engaged in sexual behavior

Referral Process

A specialized referral team has been created within the State Central Registry to assess calls that involve PSB and make a determination about whether the case will be screened in due to concerns about possible child abuse/neglact or screened out. Cases that are screened out will be referred to the local Specialized Care Coordinator (SCC), which is a local care-management organization-based position that will provide families with referrals for specialized medical and mental health services, as well as offer families psychoeducation and resources.


Problematic sexual behaviors are serious, AND there is hope. Evidence-based treatments work; 98% of children that complete treatment do not engage in the behavior again. The treatment models used for problematic sexual behaviors have been extensively evaluated and shown by scientific evidence not only to effectively address the problematic sexual behaviors, but to also improve parent-child relationships, social skills, emotional regulation, and overall well-being.

Treatment models utilized in the program include:

  • PSB-CBT School Age (Problematic Sexual Behavior – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) – ages 7-12 years
  • PSB-CBT Adolescent – ages 13-18
  • TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) – ages 3-12


The training component of the PSB Program includes training and technical assistance for SCCs to best support these families, as well as training for all stakeholders about PSB prevention and treatmentann NJ’s coordinated response. Training in evidence-based treatment will also be provided to mental health clinicians throughout the state to increase the number of available providers.

Funding and Administration

The program also involves administration of a Child Treatment Assistance Fund that was established by the Department of Children and Families to cover the costs of specialized services for youth who do not have an open case with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Oversight and Accountability

The PSB Program Manager will oversee implementation of the PSB initiative and provide ongoing support which includes providing training and technical assistance to SCCs and care management organizations; developing and delivering training throughout the state about PSB prevention,treatment and available resources; and, collecting data to to assess the program’s effectiveness and inform modifications to improve the program’s success.


For more information on the program, contact Stephanie Bailey, Program Manager, at