CHILDREN'S SERVICES 

Students from the Wooch.een Yei Jigaxhtoonei and Three to Five preschools in Sitka. (Photo by Anne Brice, SAFV)

SAFV provides resources for child and teenage victims or witnesses of domestic violence, abuse, neglect, and sexual assault. The Children’s Program provides one-on-one advocacy and safety planning for children and parenting support, as well as connecting children and parents to community resources. In addition, SAFV provides support groups for youth, as well as educational programs at the elementary, middle and high schools in the Sitka School District, and Training Opportunities for community members.

SAFV tries to make the shelter a comfortable environment so that children feel safe and stable. We have a playroom with games, books, and art supplies for children, providing them with a safe place to talk and play. It is important for those who have experienced trauma to have the opportunity to just “be kids” and to participate in celebrations. The Children’s Program provides resident moms with presents and decorations for youth birthdays and decorates the shelter for different seasons.

In addition, SAFV hosts an annual Holiday party in December for residents and non-residents, providing a large group dinner, holiday art projects, and presents for all youth and adults present. If you would like to make donations to the Holiday party or other shelter celebrations, please contact info@safv.org.

 

All SAFV staff and volunteers are mandated reporters and are responsible for making reports to the Office of Children's Services (OCS) in the case of known or suspected child abuse. We strive to support clients in their relationship with OCS and help increase protective factors for their family. For more information, go to our Child Abuse resource page. Following are a list of the children's services SAFV offers:

YOUTH ADVOCACY

The children’s advocate works with resident and non-resident children to help provide them with healthy life skills and protective factors. We encourage one-on-one meetings with children to help them address and process issues, including how they are doing in shelter, what abuse is, self-esteem, and identifying and positively expressing their feelings. These meetings are often facilitated with art projects or used to practice skills as appropriate for the child’s needs.

A SAFV children's advocacte works with boys at Boys Run, an after-school running program at Keet Gooshi Heen. (Photo by Anne Brice, SAFV)

Children who are exposed to domestic violence experience a wide range of responses to trauma, including anger, frustration, sadness, and nervousness, and our groups help kids work on expressing their feelings in a safe setting. Children within the group share with and listen to each other, and learn how to be more patient with themselves and one another.

SAFV staff also meet with teens to talk about issues such as bullying and teen dating violence and to help them gain skills for independent living.

 

In addition, the children’s advocate works with parents to ensure that children are connected to the resources and services they need, such as school or community counselors, school supplies, and childcare, medical, or food assistance. For more information about how to sign up for resources, go to our  Forms & Applications page.

CHILDREN'S GROUPS

SAFV's children's advocate provides support groups for kids in grades K-5 who have experienced domestic violence. During the school year, the children's advocate holds a lunch group each week at Baranof and Keet Gooshi Heen elementary schools. In the summer, SAFV holds support groups for kids at the shelter. The children who attend are either past residents, clients, or are referred by a school counselor or social service agency. 

The purpose of these groups is to help children who have had traumatic experiences deal with them in a healthy and nurturing environment through the use of art projects from A Window Between Worlds (AWBW). 

AWBW uses art to heal and empower children. Through the activites in the program, the participants learn different coping skills and how to understand and express their complex feelings in a positive way. For more information, contact SAFV's children's advocate: youth@safv.org or 907-747-3370. 

SAFETY PLANNING

Doing safety plans is an important step in preventing child abuse and sexual assault. Safety plans help youth identify safe adults they can talk to, and can empower children who have been victimized to identify what resources they have available to them in unsafe situations and what can help keep them safe during violent incidents. Home safety plans are personalized depending on each child’s family situation.

SAFV encourages all parents and community members to participate in safety planning with the youth in their lives as a prevention measure, and works with clients who are experiencing abuse to do home safety planning with their child.

Safety planning is an important thing to do with children to prevent abuse. Check out our prevention safety plans for Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary school children. If you would like to do a home safety plan with your child, please contact services@safv.org or check out this Home Safety Plan example for upper elementary youth. For teens experiencing dating violence, check out the Teen Safety Plan from Love Is Respect.

PARENTING SUPPORT

SAFV encourages all clients to learn more about protective factors and positive discipline for their children. The Child Advocate provides emergency and respite childcare opportunities, general support for resident mothers, and connection to in-house and community positive-parenting resources to help support parents.

SAFV shows this video (left) about the effects of trauma on a child's brain during it's community trainings.

 

COMMUNITY EDUCATION

SAFV staff educate community members about DV/SA at a variety of events (Photo by Anne Brice, SAFV)

SAFV provides trainings for various community organizations and professionals. Topics include child abuse and neglect, child witnesses of domestic violence, and child sexual assault. Presentations include the effects on children, what to do if a child discloses, services available for children, safety planning with children, and how to talk to children about these issues.

 

If you are interested in our training calendar or having SAFV staff visit your organization, please contact info@safv.org.