Finding Safety Through Safe Place
Recently, YouthCare’s Safe Place Coordinator, Liz Speigel, received a call from one of our school partners in Seattle:
I got a call from a family support worker at a public school in Seattle, where I had done a presentation on Safe Place a few months earlier. She was with Rebecca (I’ve changed her name here), a 17-year-old young woman whose father had suddenly kicked her out. They had been fighting and she felt that he was overbearing and disrespectful of her. She had never been homeless before and had been sleeping in the entrance of a church for several days. She felt unsafe outside and she sought help from her counselor. I immediately responded and met Rebecca and her counselor at the school. She had been living in the US for only two years and, while her English was good, occasionally the counselor would provide translation when English words failed her.
Rebecca was visibly scared and shy, but extremely polite and kind. Since staying at home wasn’t an option, we agreed that an emergency shelter would be the best choice for her and, when we called her father, he consented. She stayed for a short while with Auburn Youth Resources, and then moved to YouthCare’s Adolescent Emergency Shelter (The Shelter). She stayed at The Shelter for 21 days—the maximum stay. During this time, YouthCare’s family engagement case manager met with Rebecca and her father and stepmother. Her father agreed to Rebecca moving into YouthCare’s Pathways, a transitional living program for minors ages 15–17, where she can stay until her 18th birthday. She never stopped attending school through all of this. She is dedicated to her studies, and in her time with us has been applying for part-time jobs, obtained a library card, and engages in group activities regularly. She is a bright and kind young woman, and I am glad we were able to provide a safe place for her.
YouthCare operates Safe Place in cooperation with Auburn Youth Resources and Friends of Youth; all three agencies provide case managers and shelter space for the program. It is the only 24/7 in-person response to teens in crisis in King County. Learn more.