Changing for Children
Santa Rosa Kids' House, Inc.
Santa Rosa Kids’ House (SRKH), opened in 2008, is a child-friendly facility that offers safety, security and a wide range of victim services for children and families that have been exposed to violence and abuse. The mission of SRKH is to provide a well-coordinated, multi-disciplined response to child abuse in an environment that puts the needs of the child first. This community-based center and staff serve as first responders in allegations of all types of child abuse, and provide direct services to children in need and in crisis. SRKH delivers assessment, prosecution, advocacy and treatment services to child abuse victims and their families, utilizing the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) model. In 2016, there were over 3,000 calls made to the abuse hotline from Santa Rosa County, up 25% from the prior year. The CAC response works to reduce the impact of child abuse by bringing together law enforcement, child protection, forensic interviewers, prosecution, mental health, medical and victim advocacy professionals in a child-friendly setting to investigate abuse, hold offenders accountable, and most importantly help children heal from the trauma of abuse. The SRKH provides the means to investigate all calls and treat all confirmed cases and provides therapy at no cost to the victims.
Santa Rosa Kids’ House (SRKH) proposes to use funds to add two new therapy rooms and a new waiting area. With this new space, SRKH will be able to provide therapy to concurrent clients with the two current therapists. Currently, the therapists can only conduct one session at a time. With the added space, SRKH would be able to increase therapy hours from the current average of 70 hours per month to approximately 130 hours per month. A new entrance and waiting area will provide an alternate area and more privacy for those clients who are undergoing current investigative services and therapy. SRKH has grown the therapy and outreach program to reach the entire county, and to date has not had to turn away any children. Over the past year, SRKH has provided therapy, free of charge, to all children referred by Department of Children and Families. The program has outgrown the current facility and requires an addition to the existing building in order to meet the needs generated by the increased client load.
One of the biggest challenges for SRKH is double-booking therapy sessions. With this expansion, SRKH will be able to increase the hours of therapy and number of clients by providing therapy to multiple clients at the same time. The organization will always provide therapy in response to child abuse cases and with client numbers steadily increasing, there is a need to make more space available to provide these services. Currently, clients participating in therapy wait for their sessions in the same lobby as the children who are just entering the investigative phase with their parents. It poses difficulty for the children to be in the same space in the building when they are at such different places in the healing process. SRKH hopes to provide a new lobby for therapy clients so that they can continue to move along the steps in the healing process and not be re-traumatized by unnecessary interaction with new victims. Services provided by SRKH ensure that victims are able to process their abuse experience and learn strategies to keep themselves safe in the future, while helping their non-offending caregivers support their recovery and provide safe environments within which they can transcend their abuse. In the last 15 months, SRKH has provided over 700 hours of therapy free of charge to children in need and will be able to continue to meet the growing demand for these services with the expansion of their current space.