Safe+Sound Somerset Inc.

Ending Domestic Violence Once and For All

aka Resource Center of Somerset   |   Hillsborough, NJ   |  http://www.safe-sound.org

Mission

Our mission is to empower survivors of domestic abuse and engage the community to break the cycle of violence.

Notes from the nonprofit

Safe+Sound Somerset was awarded the Somerset County Business Partnership's 2016 Economic Vitality award for significant impact on the quality of life of our targeted constituency and Somerset County in the areas of growth of constituency served, innovative programming and contribution of volunteer base.

Ruling year info

1982

Executive Director

Michele Boronkas

Main address

427 Homestead Rd

Hillsborough, NJ 08844 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Resource Center for Women and Their Families

Safe+Sound Somerset, Inc.

EIN

22-2205833

NTEE code info

Family Violence Shelters and Services (P43)

Counseling Support Groups (F60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

While working to end domestic violence in Somerset County, we support survivors in finding safety, hope and healing as they build independent lives, free from abuse.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

24-Hour Call or Text Hotline

The Hotline functions as the first connection for help with domestic violence situations.  The Hotline is a tool to access information pertaining to domestic violence and to inform callers about the resources available through Safe+Sound Somerset, Inc.  All call are confidential.  The Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English and Spanish.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Short term (30-60 days) residential program available to victims of domestic violence who believe they are at risk of further abuse by remaining in the home.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Based on the Strength Perspective and Empowerment model, counselors meet with clients regularly to provide education around domestic abuse and to help them explore their options.  Client centered treatment plans are developed as a guide to achieve client goals.  Individual and group counseling are available in both English and Spanish.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

The Legal Advocacy program provides an array of services to help domestic abuse victims understand their rights and protect themselves using the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.  Services include; court preparation and accompaniment, legal clinics, legal advocacy and support, and dismissal of restraining orders.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

A Transitional Housing program helps domestic abuse survivors and their children bridge the gap between leaving an abusive home, emergency shelter and living independently. Four furnished apartments offer clients a private space to call home for 12 to 18 months while they work on goals toward securing permanent housing. This program is available to clients who are employed and/or enrolled in school.

Clients in Transitional Housing participate in free counseling and meet with domestic violence advocates weekly to review and modify goals toward independence. Residents contribute a mutually agreed upon monetary “rent” donation that's based on a budget that allows clients to save for security deposits on their future homes.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Domestic Violence Response Teams (DVRT) were first authorized in New Jersey in 1987 through the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. When police respond to a domestic violence call, the officer secures the safety of the victim and other family members and offers the assistance of the DVRT.

DVRT volunteers respond at the time of crisis to help victims get through the “golden hour” of intervention. The sooner assistance is offered to the victim, the more empowered they are to address the domestic abuse in their life. Data shows that early contact between a DVRT advocates and domestic abuse victims is a leading factor in reducing recidivism rates.

The DVRT volunteer is specially trained to provide critical information at a very overwhelming time, so the victim has a clear understanding of their options. The follow-up process is particularly important if a temporary restraining order is granted and a court appearance is necessary to obtain a final order of protection.

The role of DVRT advocates:

Gather background information from investigating officers to gain an understanding of the situation.
Talk with the victim, providing an opportunity for them to talk about the incident in a non-threatening atmosphere. The DVRT volunteer can extend a limited counselor/client confidentiality privilege to the victim.
Answer questions and provide clarification about victims’ rights and domestic abuse laws.
Explain the restraining order process.
Review the dynamics of domestic abuse with the victim to provide clarity of the situation.
Assist the victim in assessing immediate needs for shelter, safety planning and children’s safety (if applicable).

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Besides the impact to a survivor’s physical and emotional well-being, domestic abuse also effects a survivor’s ability to care for family. Domestic abuse can impact housing, income, insurance and more, leaving families without the fundamentals of living a stable life.

By focusing on the basic needs of survivors and their families, such as access to nutritious foods, supplies like clothing and diapers, childcare, and education, we assist families in achieving new levels of holistic wellbeing in their homes. Through trauma-informed case management our clients established personalized action plans to flourish independently, giving them the ability to leave abuse behind once and for all.

Population(s) Served

Safe+Sound Somerset’s Financial Literacy and Empowerment program supports survivors of domestic abuse in creating lives free from economic abuse and dependency. Services provided through our Financial Empowerment Center equip clients with the knowledge, skills, and tools to re-gain control of their finances and their future.

The Financial Empowerment Center also coordinates our Domestic Violence Housing First program for survivors.

Population(s) Served

Safe+Sound Somerset’s SPEAK program aims to reduce violence by promoting safety and creating change. We provide trauma-informed, evidence-based prevention and intervention programming in Somerset County.

Our goal is to increase the capacity of community members of all ages to understand, recognize and respond to all forms of domestic and teen dating violence. In addition to a wide range of interactive programs, we attend community events, fairs and other local affairs to comprehensively support efforts to reduce and prevent violence.

SPEAK is available for presentations and trainings to your company, community group, and professional, medical and religious organization. Frequent topics of our presentations include:

Domestic Violence 101 & S+SS Services
Violence is Violence/Trauma is Trauma
Healthy Teen Friendships & Dating Relations

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Families
Parents
Adults
Children and youth
Families
Parents
Adults
Children and youth
Families
Parents
Students

Where we work

External assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2019)

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of program/service hours provided annually

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Hours of direct services provided to adult and child survivors through individual and group counseling, cas management and legal advocacy.

Number of phone calls/inquiries

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

24-Hour Call or Text Hotline

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Calls and/or texts answered and managed by our 24/7 domestic abuse hotline.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We seek to empower survivors of domestic abuse, via therapy and supportive services, to free themselves to lead fulfilling lives; to help adult and child survivors heal from the devastating effect domestic abuse wreaks on families; and to engage the community in ending the cycle of violence affecting families in Somerset County.

We are committed to providing quality services in all areas of operations in an efficient and effective manner. Our goal is to grow and adapt our services to meet the changing needs of our clients.

As a 24/7, Safe+Sound Somerset stands ready to help by providing a safe, supportive and empowering as victims to survivors.

Our services are available in all languages and include emergency shelter, legal advocacy, family advocacy, financial empowerment, individual and group counseling, outreach and education, volunteer Domestic Violence Response Teams working with local police to support victims in crisis, transitional housing and more. Confidential services are provided to survivors of domestic abuse, women, men and children.

Safe+Sound Somerset provides short-term, emergency shelter in our safe house, also known as Victoria House, to survivors and their children who are seeking confidential refuge from an unsafe, abusive living situation. Located in a quiet setting, Victoria House is a place of healing with five private bedrooms, a comfortable living space and a common kitchen. There's a playroom and fenced-in backyard where your children can play in a secure environment. All basic needs such as food, toiletries and clothing are provided to residents of Victoria's House.

A Transitional Housing program helps domestic abuse survivors and their children bridge the gap between leaving an abusive home, emergency shelter and living independently. Four furnished apartments offer clients a private space to call home for 12 to 18 months while they work on goals toward securing permanent housing. This program is available to clients who are employed and/or enrolled in school.

Individual and group counseling helps survivors heal from the trauma of domestic abuse. In a supportive environment, survivors use healthy coping strategies and relaxation techniques and begin their journey to a new life, free of abuse.

New clients are encouraged to join a supportive listening group. Participants meet for eight weeks to talk about the dynamics of domestic abuse and the cycle of violence. Facilitated by one of our advocates, this discussion group covers a variety of topics including power and control, healthy boundaries and warning signs of an abusive relationship.

Children who witness domestic abuse often develop behavioral issues, learning disabilities and even developmental setbacks. Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are common in these children. They are at higher risk than their peers for alcohol and drug addiction, suicide, becoming abusive and being abused. Our youth programs are designed to help children greatly reduce these risks and to break the cycle of violence.

Our youth counselors are highly trained in a variety of proven methods to help these children heal, build coping skills, express feelings appropriately and explore healthy relationships. Creative arts, music, play and verbal therapies are applied in a safe setting to individuals and age appropriate groups.

Our advocates work with individual parents and facilitate parenting groups to help them address their children's needs. Topics include guilt, fear, trust, safety and discipline.

Family therapy is offered to families in crisis who want to learn how to cope with issues together. It can help change family dynamics, heal relationships, build trust and improve communication between parents and children.

DVRT (Domestic Violence Response team) volunteers respond at the time of crisis to help victims get through the “golden hour"of intervention. The sooner assistance is offered to the victim, the more empowered they are to address the domestic abuse in their life.

Safe+Sound Somerset is proud of its highly dedicated and qualified team of diverse professionals and volunteers.

Front line staff consists of case managers and advocates. Case Managers and Advocates are hired with Bachelor's degrees from a variety of fields. Counselors have Master's degrees in counseling, social work or related areas. We seek staff with backgrounds in crisis intervention and sensitivity to domestic abuse issues. All staff must complete a minimum of 40 hours of specialized domestic violence training before working with clients, and participate in ongoing individual and group supervision and in-service training.

Volunteers are an integral part of Safe+Sound Somerset, contributing time and talent to enhanced client services and raising community awareness. We offer numerous volunteer opportunities to suit the needs of those who want to help:

Legal Advocates – Guide clients through the complicated legal system
Hotline Counselors – Answer 24-hour emergency hotline calls and texts
Domestic Violence Response Team – Work with police to assist victims in the midst of crisis
Community Educators – Make presentations about domestic abuse
Childcare – Supervise children while parents are in counseling
Youth Programs Assistants – Read to children, teach music, chaperone field trips, assist with arts & crafts, cook with youth in shelter.
Food Shoppers – Supply our safe house with groceries and other amenities (using our account)
Office Support – Help staff with general office work such as copying and preparing mailings
Fundraising Support – Lead or participate in committees to create and implement successful events, appeals and campaigns to fund programs for survivors
Life Skills Mentors – Support clients who are building skills needed to live independently. Assist with job preparation, credit counseling, budgeting, learning English as a second language, furthering education and resume writing.
Event Planners - organize and implement activities such as our annual Candlelight Vigil to increase awareness surrounding domestic abuse & teen dating violence

Safe+Sound Somerset needs to move to a central location within the County to make our services more convenient to clients.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome,

Financials

Safe+Sound Somerset Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Safe+Sound Somerset Inc.

Board of directors
as of 1/28/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sheila Breeding

Allstate NJ

Sheila Breeding

Allstate NJ

James Berg

WithumSmith+Brown, PC

Annette Geller

Allstate NJ

Susan Spagnola, Esq.

Terry Thompson, Esq.

Friends of the Shelter

Cassandra Bellfield

AON Consulting

Michelle Bauman

Sandoz

Denise Coyle, Esq.

Deborah Preston, PhD

Paul Grzella

Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board

Sonia Rodrigues-Marto, MA, LPC

Rutgers University

Susan Hutton

IEEE

Trudy Doyle

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/28/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data