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Several key intervention components are utilized in each shelter to aid children in trauma recovery, stabilization and development:
Children who have experienced abuse, neglect or trauma are introduced to a variety of play experiences that are age-appropriate, inviting, and self-empowering. During these activities, dialogue between the children and staff is to be both enjoyable and remedial. Therapeutic play is introduced as a technique that alleviates stress and promotes healthy development. Children are engaged in a variety of activities that help them recover and heal. These activities are selected to encourage healthy attachments, rebuild trust, and expand cognitive skills. Games and play time pursuits are tailored by child development specialists to fit each child’s age, emotional needs, and developmental capabilities. Therapeutic play expands observation, listening, and language skills; improves problems solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning; encourages communication and teamwork; and heightens self-awareness and the ability to relate to others. Art is also utilized as a form of expression helping traumatized children communicate their emotions when words cannot. Art expression instills in children a sense of self-discovery and empowerment.
The Crisis Center employs a team of in-house professionals who work with anxious parents in a supportive, empathetic manner utilizing a variety of intervention techniques to alleviate risk and rebuild the family. Staff assist parents and network with other community providers to develop and coordinate action plans for family improvement and achievement. Plans include referrals and collaboration with other community resources beneficial to the identified needs of each family. Staff give parents insight into necessary changes and hold parents accountable for follow-through. Parents are introduced to healthy coping skills and appropriate discipline techniques and insight into the importance of consistency, predictability and structure within the family. Families are introduced to information that will help enlighten their understanding of the stages of child development and guided to formulate realistic expectations of their children. Parents also learn how to build upon family strengths and resolve conflicts.
As part of crisis management, the Center offers counseling for both parents and children, 24 hours a day, seven days per week. This experience allows parents to vent frustrations, challenges and feelings in a safe manner. Further, distressed children are allowed safe opportunities to express themselves away from their parents. Staff utilize age appropriate techniques that give constructive platforms to work through trauma.
Since opening the first children’s shelter in 1980, the CCC has been a welcome refuge for homeless children. Our shelter program shields children from the hardships associated with homelessness and offers homeless parents secure accommodations for their children. Homeless parents are reassured knowing that their children receive quality care and benefit from individualized attention within the protective comfort of a home setting. CCC Case managers assist homeless parents, empowering them to overcome the social and economic barriers that impede their ability to secure and maintain safe/affordable housing.
The Crisis Center operates a responsive phone service that allows immediate help 24 hours a day, seven days per week. This service is free to the public and offers crisis counseling and referral outreach through trained crisis counselors who listen with empathy as they help callers prioritize their most critical family issues and defuse emotionally charged family events. Parents benefit from the opportunity to discuss difficult issues before anger escalates into violence and receive guidance to problem solve and reach crisis resolution.
Physicians, clinicians and other specialists visit our shelters to administer onsite screenings and assessments. These screenings include physicals, well-baby clearances, dental exams, vision and hearing tests and speech pathology screenings. Screening results influence referrals and treatment plans.
As a collaborative partner with the local Department of Social Services, the Children’s Crisis Center manages and oversees the weekly visits of children in foster Care, as they meet with their biological families. CCC staff are stationed on-site at the local DSS office to schedule, monitor and supervise foster child family visits. CCC staff ensure that all family visits are safe and appropriate. Staff also engage foster children with parents in coordinated activities to facilitate a healthy experience for each child.