The fallout, pain, and brokenness caused by being sexually exploited is easy to see on the faces of the brave women who enter the doors of Refuge for Women. What is not so obvious to see is the ripple effect this life has had on their children. So often our women leave children behind with family members, in foster care, or with a trusted friend while they come to our program to pursue their hope and healing. This separation causes a great deal of anxiety and makes the healing process that much more difficult. It often is a reason for a resident to decide to quit and exit the program before completion. Leaving your children behind has been a necessary evil of entering a long term residential program since there are so few programs available for mothers and their children.
These questions have haunted us at RFWLV, haunted us and caused us to dream:
What if we could offer a place for women to come and find their hope and healing and not need to leave their children behind?
What if we could offer hope and healing to the whole family?
What if the children could be part of the healing process?
Refuge for Women Las Vegas has often been referred to as a place where women's dreams come true. This idea of serving the mother and helping her child has been a dream for us at Refuge for Women Las Vegas. This has been a dream that we knew we could not do or accomplish on our own. Once again, RFWLV is on the dream fulfillment front, partnering with Safe Families of Nevada to offer the ability for women to come to our nine-month residential program AND bring their children.
The mission of Safe Families is to host vulnerable children and create extended family-like support for desperate families through a community of devoted volunteers who are motivated by compassion to keep children safe and families intact. You could describe Safe Families as a type of pseudo foster care program, established within the local church. Local church families go through extensive training with Safe Families before they are approved as an official Safe Family home. Once equipped, Safe Families are able to host the children of women completing our program. The children are placed in a loving family home where they are given support, medical care, educational needs and a family of love while their mothers go through the Refuge program to get the help they need. What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ partnering together and serving others wholistically. The women are able to enter the Refuge for Women nine-month program, knowing their children are being cared for and are close by. At the appropriate time of the program, the mothers and children are reunited with coordinated family visits for the duration of the mother's stay at Refuge for Women.
The process for entry into the program for a woman with children may take a little longer than our normal intake to ensure the appropriate child placement, however, this new partnership with Safe Families brings a new level of hope to mothers. Their children can enter into a "safe family" home and be cared for by the "foster" family while the moms undergo and complete the Refuge for Women Las Vegas program. Placement is not guaranteed and is based on the availability of a Safe Family home and availability within the Refuge for Women Las Vegas program.
We are very excited to see how this new partnership will bring hope and healing to the whole family.