Introducing Safe Haven
We are excited to announce that we are taking a model of ministry pioneered at Oasis in Guatemala 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 kids 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 kids 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 kids 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, and emotional healing. Nurses, tutors, safeguarding officers, house parents, even security guards, provide for educational, medical, and safety needs. Psychologists 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. 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.
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 kids, 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 through our Families Together program.
Won’t you consider joining our efforts and becoming a Safe Haven Champion?