Our staff are dedicated to remembering and advocating for the needs of the sometimes forgotten victims, the children who live in and witness violence in their homes. We find consistently each year that in abusive homes with children, more than 75% have witnessed the abuse. Children are more likely to be abused when there is violence in the home. Witnessing and experiencing violence can have a very frightening effect on children of all ages. Our comprehensive Children’s Program is dedicated to serving the needs of children both in our residential setting and in the community.
Shelter Based Programs
Clinical assessments, therapeutic services and safety planning: A Child Therapist conducts an intake and assessment with the mothers of all children entering shelter. Therapeutic services include individual, group and family therapy utilizing therapeutic play, drama, art and stories. Clinical staff makes referrals to community agencies for psychiatric and psychological evaluations as well as for treatment services. All children in shelter are screened for evidence of abuse during the intake and assessment period as well as during individual and group therapy. A safety plan is developed with all children age 3 and older.
Weinberg Child Development Center: Our state licensed child development center is available to residents who are employed, in school or training, or who have business or counseling appointments, Monday through Friday, from 7:00am until 8:30pm. A developmental child care module for preschool age children is conducted each morning. After school programming is provided for school age children.
KIDSPACE: This program, designed to build positive self-esteem and positive self-concept, is for children ages 8 to 12. KIDSPACE utilizes prepared teachings, arts and crafts and cultural activities. Weekly sessions address topics such as self-knowledge, self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-esteem, self-actualization, being more positive and reaching out to others.
Parenting support: Individual parenting education and support are provided by our child therapist and interns for shelter residents with children, to teach about child development and non-violent discipline techniques, strengthen the parent-child bond, encourage nurturing, and model effective parenting. Staff help mothers obtain community family support services when needed.
Community Based Programs and Services
Therapeutic Services: We provide assessment services, group and individual counseling and parent/child sessions for parents with young children in a variety of community locations to assist children to have been exposed to intimate partner violence. Clinicians use a state-of-the-art assessment protocol and utilize therapeutic play, drama, writing, art and stories when working with children and families. Clinical staff makes referrals to community agencies for psychiatric and psychological evaluations as well as for treatment services when more intensive services are required.
Safety and prevention groups: Groups are held in various community locations across the city. They are primarily for children ages 3 to 12 who are at risk of being exposed to violence in the community and in their homes.
To learn more about the impact of intimate partner violence on children, read the article, The Kids Are Not All Right, written by House of Ruth Maryland staff, Judy Wolfer and Deena Hausner.