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National Safe Place Week: March 21-27, 2021

Haven House Services is celebrating National Safe Place Week in hopes of increasing awareness of the Safe Place program, building community support for Safe Place partners, and recognizing our Safe Place supporters. Learn more about Safe Place and our role below. For more information visit https://www.nationalsafeplace.org/.

What is Safe Place®?
Safe Place is a national outreach and prevention program for youth in crisis. More than 20,000 locations across the U.S. display the yellow and black Safe Place sign, the universal symbol of help and safety for all young people. Partnering youth-friendly businesses and community organizations, such as fast food restaurants, convenience stores, fire stations, schools, public transportation vehicles and libraries, connect youth in crisis with the local licensed Safe Place agency. Most licensed Safe Place agencies serve youth between the ages of 12 to 17 years old, although some agencies serve younger and older youth. To learn more, please visit: www.nationalsafeplace.org/what-is-safe-place.

How does Safe Place work? The following information is taken from the National Safe Place website:

  • Step One– A young person enters a Safe Place and asks for help.
  • Step Two– The site employee finds a comfortable place for the youth to wait while they call the licensed Safe Place agency.
  • Step Three – Within 30 minutes, a qualified Safe Place volunteer or agency staff member will arrive to talk with the youth and, if necessary, provide transportation to the agency.
  • Step Four– Once at the agency, counselors meet with the youth and provide support. Agency staff makes sure the youth and their families receive the help and professional services they need. 

Youth can also receive help by using “TXT 4 HELP,” a nationwide 24/7 support service for teens in crisis. Text the word “safe” and your current location (city, state, zip) to 4HELP (44357). Within seconds, you will receive a message with the closest Safe Place site and phone number for the local youth agency. For immediate help, reply with “2chat” to text interactively with a trained counselor. 

What is Haven House’s role in the Safe Place program in Wake County?
Haven House Services is the Safe Place Coordinator for agencies in Wake County. We collaborate and connect with community partner organizations to bring awareness to Safe Place and work together to offer a safe and stable environment for our youth in our community in crisis. Wrenn House, our youth shelter in downtown Raleigh, serves at the designated Safe Place location in Wake County. We partner with 82 organizations that proudly display their Safe Place sign. Any youth in need of immediate help or safety can contact any Safe Place agency and they will be directed to Wrenn House.

Who can be a Safe Place site?
Safe Place sites are businesses and other public locations designated by licensed Safe Place agencies as “safe places” for youth to go when in a crisis situation. These locations fit criteria set up by NSPN and receive orientation and training by the local licensed Safe Place agency. Some Safe Place sites in Wake County include: fire stations, amtrak stations, community centers, YMCAs, grocery stores, and more! If your organization is interested in learning more about becoming a Safe Place site for our local youth, please visit https://www.nationalsafeplace.org/safe-place-site to view the basic criteria.

Why is Safe Place important to our community?
Safe Place gives youth in our community a resource they can use when they are in unsafe situations. Youth may experience difficult problems during their young lives.  These may lead young people to make difficult, and sometimes dangerous decisions in an effort to escape what it is they are going through. Sometimes, youth feel they don’t belong, and leaving home is often not a choice they want to make. Providing Safe Place as a resource for youth provides a safety net for them, thereby strengthening families and communities. Regardless of the reason, young people have a place to turn in times of need. Youth may visit any designated Safe Place location and receive immediate help. 

To learn more about Safe Place or how you can get involved, visit https://www.nationalsafeplace.org/. If you are interested in becoming a Safe Place site in Wake County, or would like to learn more about how Haven House Services helps, please contact Anthony Hinson, Wrenn House and Safe Place Operations Coordinator, at ahinson@havenhousenc.org.

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