Safe Harbor Support Center provides a safe nurturing environment, helping children and families heal from trauma and recover from abuse and neglect. This is accomplished by focusing on children’s social and emotional development, strengthening parenting skills and connecting families to community services. Safe Harbor’s mission is to reduce child abuse and neglect in our community by providing education and support to children, youth, and families in crisis.
Children need the opportunity to heal from the trauma of neglect and abuse. By re-establishing a sense of safety and security and helping the child re-attach to the adults in their world, a template for recovery can be initiated. When the child has experienced witnessing domestic violence, neglect from substance abusing parents, or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, there can be major lifelong consequences for the child. According to the research completed by Vincent Felletti, M.D. and Robert Anda M.D., M.S., without intervention they will experience physiological and psychological issues later in their life. The research of Bruce Perry, M.D., PHD, shows that trauma impacts brain development and a child’s ability to learn as well as major behavioral problems. All of these social, emotional and behavioral issues are the result of one or more traumatizing events call Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s). Like poverty and addiction, ACE experience is intergenerational and is likely to increase with each generation.
At Safe Harbor, we believe in working with the whole family. Without the parent’s support at home, intervention will eventually diminish. To accomplish this holistic approach, we provide a warm welcoming environment and treat all parents with respect. It takes courage to ask for help and to change behavior.
The Incredible Years parent training intervention is a 20 week series of programs focused on strengthening parenting competencies (monitoring, positive discipline, confidence) and fostering parents' involvement in children's school experiences in order to promote children's academic, social and emotional competencies and reduce conduct problems. The parent programs are grouped according to age. Babies & Toddlers (0-3 years), BASIC Early Childhood (3-6 years), BASIC School-Age (6-12 years)
According to a recent evaluation of the Incredible Years by Casey Family Programs, by the end of classes parents reported:
At Safe Harbor we offer all three parenting programs to parents with children exhibiting conduct problems. Childcare and meals or snacks are provided to the families during this program.
Safe Harbor provides five children’s groups for toddlers to teenagers. The younger children attend the program four days a week, and the school age children and teens come after school once a week. The goal of each program is to improve the social and emotional competence of the children in an age appropriate way while they learn techniques to help themselves heal from traumatic stress. There is an emphasis on learning to feel safe and secure and to identify and express feelings in a positive way. Meals and snacks are provided to the children during the program. By enrolling children in the program, parents are required to complete both the Incredible Years and the Trauma Academy.
A new goal at Safe Harbor is to create both a trauma-informed, trauma-focused organization and a trauma knowledgeable local community. To this purpose we offer two types of education programs for adults. The Trauma Academy is a caregiver program that offers 10 weeks of the physiology of trauma coupled with hands-on skills to use at home to assist children with traumatic stress. Trauma Boot Camp is a three week adult program for professionals and paraprofessionals to inform about the nature of trauma, ACE’s, and interventions to use with children suffering from traumatic stress.
Although originally created as an emergency child care center, experience at Safe Harbor has proven that focusing on the root cause of the crisis is more effective in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The case manager assesses for patterns contributing to family dysfunction, refers to community services, helps strengthen the family’s problem-solving proficiency to prevent future crisis, and assists parents to improve life skills. Emergency supplies and clothing are available for the families. Counseling services through a licensed Mental Health Therapist are available upon request.
Parents Are Forever is a court-mandated, custody or divorce class designed to help parents through a traumatic experience for the child as well as the parent. The four hour seminar covers ACE’s and their lasting effects, the trauma of the separation of family, and behaviors designed to create a positive environment for the children.
My Friends Place is the Tri-Cities first homeless teen shelter which opened in December 2011. Hot dinners, laundry facilities, warm showers, and a place to stay the night are provided to youth 13 to 17 years old in the community that are currently homeless. Dinners and other services are also provided for the young adults between the ages of 18 and 21.
Adult Classes and Taming the Dragon
Adverse Childhood Experiences - English
Adverse Childhood Experiences - Spanish
All About Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery
Emotions Poster - English
Emotions Poster - Spanish