Helping kids in crisis. That's the mission of Project Safe Place, a nationwide program, housed locally through Catholic Family Services. "What we do is we use civic buildings, business and so forth to provide safe havens for youth in crisis," says Youth Advocacy Coordinator Brad Carter.
Here's how it works. If a child sees a yellow Safe Place sign, he or she can go into the building and say I need help. "They give us a phone call, 24-7 and we've always got someone on call and say. I've got a youth in crisis. A counselor is dispatched to the scene."
|Safe Places In Lubbock|
The Safe Place site acts as waiting area for the child. "If the kid says I'm in a crisis or if the kid is perceived to be in a crisis, whether he thinks so or not, they're supposed to give us a call and let us make that determination. The counselor makes a determination on what's going on, makes a brief interview with the child to see what the problem is. If the child has no place to go, we'll immediately get that child a temporary shelter and take it from there."
There are around 40 Safe Places in Lubbock. Every Citibus is a Safe Place, so a child can wave down the bus and ride it until a counselor arrives. Lubbock fire stations and city libraries are also Safe Places. A number of private businesses and community centers like Maxey are Safe Places.
Carter inspects each location to make sure it is in fact a safe place. "I go visit the site. I have to determine if this is a Safe Place. In other words is this a safe place for kids to be? Is the management going to make sure the staff knows what they're doing when a kid comes in crisis? Is the place itself unsafe because of where it is located or what it does? Are there crack deals going on in the parking lot? We have to be careful of that."
The mission is making sure every child has a safe place to go in any crisis. "If they feel like no one is listening or if they've got a problem that no one is listening to, there are people that will listen."
For more information on Project Safe Place or to find out how your business can become a Safe Place, call Catholic Family Services at (806) 765-8629 or ( click here )to find out more about the national program.