Finding Out What Works... and Doing More of It
We are excited to announce that we are taking the model of ministry created by Rosalva and her team and extending it to other sites around the world. We call this model Safe Haven, and this is how it works:
As our reputation builds as an organization that takes on challenging cases, government agencies are bringing more children and teens to Kids Alive from situations of unspeakable hardship and pain. Some have suffered extreme neglect or abandonment, and all have endured some form of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and are in need of significant interventions.
Some children have been removed from an abusive home environment and find refuge at one of our residential centers where they can be safe, protected from abusers, and have their needs for food, shelter, education, and companionship met as they experience emotional, physical and spiritual healing.
Other children are able to stay in their homes because the abuser is not a member of the household, and we can serve them and their families from a non-residential care or justice center.
In either scenario, Safe Haven care for these children begins with an assessment – what are their needs? What types of trauma have they endured? What interventions are needed to begin the healing journey?
The key component of a Safe Haven ministry is the team of expert caretakers, or champions, formed around each child according to their needs for health, justice, education and emotional healing. Nurses, safeguarding officers, house parents, even security guards, provide for educational, medical, and safety needs. Psychologists and therapists use trauma-informed methods and biblical truth to start the road to emotional health.
While their healing is in process, Safe Haven provides social workers and attorneys to address their needs in the country’s legal system. For example, in Guatemala, girls who have worked with our attorneys to prepare a case against their abuser have seen a 70% conviction rate compared to a national average of 7%.
One of the ways we ensure a consistent approach to emotional healing and spiritual formation is through the use of what we call Life Declaration Cards. We know that the deep wounds of abuse create unhealthy views of identity and form unhealthy responses to the world. Many abused children are told by abusers and family that they’re worthless, that they are dirty, that they will never amount to anything. And the pain of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse leads many to unhealthy behaviors such as self-harm, uncontrollable anger, addictions, and difficulty coping with life’s challenges.
Life Declaration Cards are a set of 16 3x5 cards given to each child in a Safe Haven program to keep with them. Each card articulates a vital biblical truth: a value we are called to live by, or a statement about our identity in Christ. Kids Alive staff reference these cards throughout the day with the children, in devotional or Bible study times, in counseling, and even in a conflict on the playground. They provide a consistent framework on which to build new spiritual foundations of identity and values.
Finally, our goal for every boy and girl is to know the blessing of family. When possible, we seek to keep them or reunite them with their own nuclear or extended family. If this isn’t an option, we work toward placing them with loving, trained, accountable Christian parents.
You can see this full journey illustrated in the video story of Maria*:
Through every type of intervention, we are replacing the abusers in their lives with a team of champions who will walk with them to healing and independence.
And that’s where you come in. Now that we have a proven model, we are looking for friends who will champion the needs of these children and help us continue and expand this work to more children, more sites, and more of the countries where we work.
Will you become a Safe Haven Champion, providing safety, healing, and the Good News of Jesus’ love?
Your commitment of $50, $100, or more each month establishes you as a Safe Haven Champion and puts you on their team alongside the other Christian caregivers – the attorneys, social workers, spiritual mentors – who are dedicated to the emotional, physical, and spiritual restoration of our children. We can only do this work with your support and prayers.
When you join the Safe Haven Champions’ Team, you’ll receive...
Won’t you consider joining our efforts and becoming a Safe Haven Champion?
Sign up now: www.kidsalive.org/safe-haven-champions