LifeWire offers individual advocacy and weekly support groups for children and youth who have witnessed abuse in their homes as well as for teens who have experienced violence in their own dating relationships. Often youth join our support groups because a parent is participating in LifeWire’s services or because they participated in one of our workshops in their school or community group. In 2017, 311 children and youth participated in LifeWire’s support groups.
We have a Children’s Advocate and a Youth Advocate on staff who focus exclusively on children and youth to give them the attention they need and deserve through age-appropriate services, and to build relationships of trust with youth who are receiving services from LifeWire, either with a parent or individually.
LifeWire’s Children and Youth Services include:
Children’s Advocacy and Support Groups for children living with a non-abusive parent. Meeting weekly, the support groups are a safe space for children who have experienced trauma. In a group, children work with advocates on emotional intelligence, healthy ways to express themselves, positive communication skills and healthy relationship skills. In 2017, 311 children and youth participated in support group, and 145 received one-on-one advocacy—a significant increase from 2016.
VOICES is a weekly support group for youth ages 13 and older who have experienced violence and abuse in their homes and are interested in connecting with other youth who share their experiences. VOICES provides a safe space for youth to learn, grow and care for one another through activities and small group discussions focused on trauma recovery and healthy relationships. In addition, VOICES youth can meet one-on-one with the Youth Advocate to discuss issues related to their experiences. In 2017, 11 youth spent 138 hours participating in VOICES.
Children’s Domestic Violence Response Team (CDVRT) is a specialized collaboration with Sound Mental Health to help survivors and their children heal from the trauma of domestic violence. This program brings together therapists and LifeWire advocates with children and their parents on a weekly basis. In 2017, 21 children and youth from 17 families were served through CDVRT.
Youth Outreach and Prevention Education teaches high school students about dating violence and domestic violence. Students learn how to identify the warning signs of abuse, form prevention strategies and respond appropriately when they are concerned about a friend or family member. Last year, over 3,000 youth learned about dating violence and how to build healthy relationship skills.