Sanctuary4kids is an emergency shelter for children who are removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. Frequently when a child is coming into care they need a temporary “home” until the best placement can be found for them. Sanctuary4kids is that soft landing for children while these important decisions are being made.
With the help of a generous community, GFNF built, furnished and gifted Sanctuary4kids to Hibiscus Children’s Center in April 2017 to operate. GFNF’s amazing partnership with Hibiscus Children’s Center provides another opportunity to reduce the trauma children experience when coming into care due to abuse and neglect. With this early intervention the children have the opportunity for a much healthier outcome, both mentally and physically.*
Children are welcomed at Sanctuary4kids by Trauma Informed Care Professionals who provide for both their physical and emotional needs while working to reduce the impact of the trauma already experienced. Children can enjoy a meal, take a bath, put on clean clothes, and sleep in a fresh, clean bed when needed. Sanctuary4kids provides a caring environment with all the things children need for a loving distraction during this crisis. Sanctuary4kids serves children birth to 17 from St. Lucie, Indian River, Martin and Okeechobee counties and operates 24/7.
The vision for Sanctuary4kids grew when GFNF learned there was no temporary emergency shelter for children who are removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. Prior to Sanctuary4kids, when a child was removed due to maltreatment, the child would have to wait in an office for hours and/or overnight. Approximately 45 children are removed monthly due to maltreatment with the majority of the children being age 5 or younger.
GFNF worked in collaboration with Devereux Community Based Care of Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast (Devereux CBC ) and Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) on this project. The collaboration also included other child focused stakeholders such as Tykes and Teens, Palm Beach Behavioral Health and Wellness, Place of Hope and Hibiscus Children’s Center. All of these organizations worked collectively to provide GFNF and Sanctuary4kids with best practices and insight to make it a model for other communities while providing our maltreated children with the care and intervention needed to help them begin to heal.
GFNF’s passion for this project and other projects to help prevent child abuse and neglect coupled with projects to help reduce the trauma already experienced is all consuming. GFNF continues to explore the lack of funding and resources to better serve maltreated children in our community – with a mission to provide for the needs of the children.
Not one agency, individual or organization can do it all – it takes the entire community to help protect our children.
* Research indicates that prolonged and repeated trauma have long term impact leading to mental health and substance abuse issues as well as decreased life expectancy. Thus, this ‘soft landing’ for children can be a pivotal and defining point for children who are coming into care by reducing the trauma and providing a sense of safety. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html
For more information about Sanctuary4kids and how you can help click here.
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