SAFE's 2016 Accomplishments:
-Austin Children's Shelter (ACS) and SafePlace officially merged to become The SAFE Alliance. You can just call us "SAFE," which stands for Stop Abuse For Everyone.
-SAFE successfully advocated and secured $1.4 million for the city's 2017 budget to address Austin's rape kit backlog.
-Chat was added to the 24-hour SAFE hotline to SAFE's ability to reach anyone affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or human trafficking. The free service is also available to anyone needing parenting support.
-Adoption services were added to SAFE's programs, with 10 families currently approved for adoption or foster/adopt. Four families have been matched with children, including siblings that have been placed with a family for nearly six months.
-Strong Start Parent Educator Graciela "Chella" Moller-Xavier received statewide recognition from DFPS for Outstanding Direct Service. Strong Start, SAFE's child abuse prevention program, offers home visits, parent education, mental health services, and more to vulnerable families throughout Austin.
-The SAFE Futures program received a federal grant to expand into five additional counties, place advocates in child welfare courts, and expand to work with deaf families. The focus of this initiative is parenting in the context of current or past domestic violence in the home and increasing linkages between child welfare courts and domestic violence programs.
-SAFE's Forensic Nursing and Advocacy Program completed its first year, providing 600 forensic exams to rape survivors at Eloise House, Hays-Caldwell Women's Center in San Marcos, and on the UT campus. Eloise House on the SafePlace campus is the region's first 24/7 facility solely dedicated to administering free sexual assault forensic exams and advocacy services.
And SAFE continued to respond to thousands of calls, provide tens of thousands of nights of residential care, counsel hundreds of survivors of violence and abuse, and advocate in the courts, schools, City Council, public health and child welfare agencies.
The SAFE Alliance (SAFE) was created when founding partners, Austin Children's Shelter and SafePlace came together to address the epidemic of violence in our homes and communities. These two longstanding agencies joined forces to break down the silos historically separating child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault services. These issues usually exist simultaneously, or sequentially, in the lives of the people we serve.
In 2016, SAFE:
-Served 6,268 individuals on two residential campuses and through community-based programs
-Answered 13,207 SAFE hotline calls from Central Texans in crisis
-Saw 83% of youth in the Transitional Living Program at ACS progress towards academic and/or vocational goals
-Helped 95% of people leaving the SafePlace shelter exit to a safe place
-Taught 179 youth in a trauma-informed setting at SAFE's Kozmetsky Charter School
-Supported 584 sexual assault survivors- 100% of those receiving services at SAFE's Eloise House did so free of charge
-Educated 1,086 youth through the Expect Respect teen dating abuse prevention program in 46 Austin area schools
-Found that 98% of youth participating in Expect Respect were more motivated to speak up about abuse or harassment
-Served 1,167 kids and parents through Strong Start, a child abuse prevention program
-Successfully placed 32 children in foster homes
$25 - 2 hours of after school activities
$50 - 1 month of legal advocacy for 1 survivor
$75 - 1 month of life skills training for 1 survivor
$100 - 1 day of sexual assault survivor support services
$250 - 1 day of security for our campus
$500 - 14 hours of counseling
$750 - 1 month of life skills training for 10 survivors
$1,000 - 10 days of food for everyone in shelter
$1,500 - 100 SAFE hotline calls
$2,500 - 65 nights of safety for a family
"SAFE assigned me an amazing parent coach who worked tirelessly with me and my daughter. She showed my daughter how to calm herself by blowing bubbles (which is a sneaky way to get her to take a breath!). Talk about her feelings. Set boundaries. She helped me reconnect with my daughter. To this day, when my daughter draws a picture of her family, it has mommy, daddy, and our Strong Start parent coach in it." --M.
"When I arrived at ACS, I was six months pregnant and had just been removed from my home because my family wasn't in a good place. I've always been close with my family, and it was really difficult to be away from them while pregnant. Looking back, I now know that ACS was the best place for me to be. You see, before coming here, I didn't see a future for myself. Now that I'm leaving ACS, I see that I can do anything in the world, and the sky is the limit! My promise to the ACS staff is that I'm headed for greatness. At my graduation ceremony, I was asked by my classmates to deliver a speech, which was a day I thought I'd never see. Now, I'm so excited to continue with my life plans and to attend college in the fall. After spending the past year and half of my life at ACS, I can safely say that my experience here was amazing, and I'm never going to forget this place or the wonderful staff. I say "staff," and it doesn't even feel right, because the staff are more like family to me and my son. Without the relationships I formed at ACS, I honestly wouldn't be where I am today." --Abby
"This year no drama, no police, no fights... just a happy mom and child. I wanted to tell you thank you for everything you, Maya, the shelter and SafePlace in general did to help us through this crisis. I know I stumbled through and made some mistakes during the process of leaving, but if you guys had not been there, I cannot image how Josiah and I might be living right now. The things I know now for future relationships and about keeping myself and my son safe are priceless. Thank you for not turning your backs on me, for being patient and for SAVING OUR LIVES!" --Jules
The Austin Children's Shelter and SafePlace campuses offer both individual and group volunteer opportunities. Individuals who want to work directly with SAFE's clients on an ongoing basis attend an in-depth training to learn about trauma and how best to help. Individual volunteers can also serve in areas that involve limited client interaction, like being a community ambassador for SAFE at a fair or fundraiser. If you have a special skill to offer, such as a facilities-related skill (carpentry, electrical work, etc), a skill you can share with our clients (we offer "life skills" classes to survivors), or in some other area, we'd love to speak with you!
Group volunteers can support SAFE in a number of ways, too, from facilities projects (like painting a fence or landscape beautification) to hosting a field day for the children at Austin Children's Shelter or a movie night for those living in the Family Shelter at SafePlace. For larger volunteer groups, having a budget allows us to be especially creative in what we're able to offer. Past groups with budgets have built playgrounds, re-decorated group therapy rooms, and taken our Austin Children's Shelter kids for an off-campus outing, for example.
For more information on either individual or group volunteer opportunities, please contact us at SAFEvolunteer@safeaustin.org.
Sponsored By: St. David's Foundation & The SAFE Alliance Board of Directors
St. David's Foundation has offered a $1M matching grant to be distributed among their nonprofit Grant Partners on Amplify Austin Day. St. David's Foundation's 2017 Grant Partners will receive funds on a pro-rata basis.
Each nonprofit will receive matching funds based on their total funds raised on Amplify Austin Day. Last year, this match resulted in a 30% boost to the funds raised by Grant Partners on the Day.
Additionally, The SAFE Alliance Board of Directors has committed $15,000 in matching funds for gifts made during the 24 hours of Amplify Austin!