The procedes from this years annual Austin20 Luncheon will benefit The SAFE Cares Program
SAFE is working across Central Texas to provide prevention and intervention for victims of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, sexual assault, exploitation and harassment.
As we have learned more and more about SAFE programs, we have discovered that the best way to begin to understand the depth and impact of what SAFE does is to walk you through what someone needing help might experience.
Imagine you are a teenager caught in this trap of trafficking. You’re scared and want out but don’t know how to get out or where else to go. You could first encounter SAFE through any number of open doors.
• You might chat or text the 24- hour SAFEline just to ask a few questions.
• You might be in emergency care at the Children’s Shelter or the Family Shelter and through counseling and therapy start telling your counselor some of the things you’ve lived through, stories of forced sex for a roof over your head or for survival.
• You might be picked up by the police and they call the SAFE CARES program, which is SAFE’s program specifically for children and young adults who are victims of trafficking. A member of the CARES emergency response team is sent out at any time of the day or night to meet you, see how you are, if you are safe, hurt, or need immediate help or shelter.
• If you’ve been assaulted or raped, you might go to Eloise House on SAFE’s Family shelter campus, which is Central Texas’ primary forensic exam clinic where a specially trained nurse and advocate will meet you and be with you the entire process of the exam, evidence collection and initial support after the assault and, hopefully, through the court case.
• Or you may have heard from other kids on the street about the new drop in center just for kids like you, where you can get a hot meal, someone to talk to who understands and does not judge, and is there to help when you are ready.
These doors are open and SAFE staff are there and waiting for each individual, ready to help. Through more than 40 years of providing help, SAFE has found that no two people are the same, there is no single response or way to assist. Every person’s situation is assessed and a plan is developed that best meets their needs.
So what does that look like?
• It might be short term housing at the Children’s Shelter, Family Shelter or a recently donated duplex where someone can stay safely for a few days until a longer-term plan is put in place.
• It might mean a child goes into longer term care at the Children’s shelter where they receive on-going and on-campus services like medical care, counseling and therapy, and can attend the on-campus charter school. The charter school works with these kids whereever they are academically and developmentally with kindness, compassion and encouragement.
• For a young pregnant teen, it might mean moving into SAFE’s teen parent program where they work with new moms on how to nurture and care for their babies, and be the kind of mom they may not have had.
• It might mean specialized foster care with families who are specially trained and equipped to support kids who have survived trafficking, including on-going family counseling and home security systems.
• It might mean helping the young person reconnect with a family that does love and miss them, and helping the whole family work through the emotional trauma of what has happened.
You can help SAFE to protect and support these survivors. Contact us to find out how.