Safe Children Foundation

Children’s Advocacy Center of Fairfax County

aka SafeSpot Children's Advocacy Center of Fairfax   |   FAIRFAX, VA   |  www.safespotfairfax.org

Mission

SafeSpot Children’s Advocacy Center provides a child-friendly, culturally sensitive environment that promotes the safety and well being of child victims of abuse while facilitating a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary team approach to the intervention, investigation prosecution and treatment of sexual abuse and severe physical abuse.

Ruling year info

2013

Managing Director

Heather O'Malley

Main address

P. O. Box 148

FAIRFAX, VA 22038 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-1358388

NTEE code info

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

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

Child abuse is an epidemic in our country. According to Childhelp (www.childhelp.org), more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies, involving more than 6.6 million children every year. That’s one report every ten seconds. In Fairfax County, an average 2,200 cases of child abuse and neglect are reported annually. These traumas, if untreated, can cause long-term adverse physical and psychological issues for survivors, including shortened life expectancy, heart and pulmonary disease, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and increased risk for intimate partner abuse in adulthood. Clearly, a coordinated response to addressing and treating children impacted by abuse is needed in every community. In Fairfax, that response is SafeSpot. As Fairfax County’s only Child Advocacy Center, SafeSpot offers children impacted by abuse the opportunity to be heard, a platform with which to seek justice, and a therapeutic path towards healing.

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?

Forensic Interview

When police or child protective services receive a report that a child has been sexually or physically abused, or has witnessed a violent crime, the child is brought to SafeSpot for a forensic interview. The goal of the forensic interview is to elicit information that evaluates the safety of the child, assesses the need for medical or psychological care, corroborates or refutes allegations of abuse and neglect; and provides evidence in the criminal investigation. Most critically, our highly trained Forensic Interviewers ask questions that are structured to avoid re-traumatizing the child or compromising the investigation. Interviews are observed via closed circuit video by law enforcement and child protective services, ensuring the interview is comprehensive and coordinated. Following the interview, a team that includes medical professionals, mental health therapists, criminal justice personnel, child protective services, and victim advocates make decisions about how best to help the child based on the interview. This multidisciplinary team (MDT) response is a core component of SafeSpot’s success.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Families

While the child is interviewed, the Family Advocate meets with the caregiver to listen and offer crisis response and support. The Family Advocate provides resources, service referrals, crisis intervention, and guidance on navigating the child welfare and criminal justice systems. Addressing the needs of the non-offending caregiver is critical, as feelings of guilt, anger, and disbelief can often follow a report of child abuse, especially when the alleged abuser is a family member or friend. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way, and 68% are abused by a family member. Helping caregivers understand the impacts of abuse and neglect ensures the best support is given to the child.

Population(s) Served
Caregivers

For children and families continuing with SafeSpot for mental health services, the process begins with an intake session where the therapist gathers information on any needs the family may have. If appropriate, the mental health therapist meets with the child individually to continue to assess for trauma related symptoms. Once the needs have been assessed, SafeSpot’s therapists utilize Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF- CBT), an evidenced-based therapy tailored to the unique challenges of youth with post-traumatic stress and mood disorders resulting from abuse, violence, or grief. These techniques are used to help modify distorted thinking and negative reactions and behaviors that result from trauma. At the same time, the therapists work with the non-offending family member(s) to develop healthy parenting strategies, stress-management, and communications skills. Together, SafeSpot’s programs contribute to the county’s social safety net and are geared towards reducing trauma, helping non-offending loved ones, and building happier outcomes and healthier futures.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Accreditations

Children's Advocacy Center Accreditation 2018

Awards

Child Advocacy Award 2020

Fairfax County CASA

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 children who receive a forensic interview.

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

Forensic Interview

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The goal for 2021 is 550 children.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

Using a team approach, SafeSpot provides each child and family with a Forensic Interviewer, Family Advocate, and Mental Health Therapist, all working together in the best interest of the child. Further, our team of highly-trained clinicians and advocates partner with law enforcement, child protective services, victim services, prosecutors, hospitals, and schools to provide a multidisciplinary approach to identifying, adjudicating, and addressing abuse and the long-term effects on survivors and families. The goal of the forensic interview is to elicit information that evaluates the safety of the child, assesses the need for medical or psychological care, corroborates or refutes allegations of abuse and neglect; and provides evidence in the criminal investigation. Most critically, our highly-trained Child Interview Specialists ask questions that are structured to avoid re-traumatizing the child or compromising the investigation. While the child is interviewed, the Family Advocate meets with the caregiver to listen and offer crisis response and support. The Family Advocate provides resources, service referrals, crisis intervention, and guidance on navigating the child welfare and criminal justice systems. Addressing the needs of the non-offending caregiver is critical, as feelings of guilt, anger, and disbelief can often follow a report of child abuse, especially when the alleged abuser is a family member or friend. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way, and 68% are abused by a family member. Helping caregivers understand the impacts of abuse and neglect ensures the best support is given to the child. If appropriate, the mental health therapist meets with the child individually to continue to assess for trauma related symptoms. Once the needs have been assessed, SafeSpot’s therapists utilize Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), an evidenced-based therapy tailored to the unique challenges of youth with post-traumatic stress and mood disorders resulting from abuse, violence, or grief. These techniques are used to help modify distorted thinking and negative reactions and behaviors that result from trauma. At the same time, the therapists work with the non-offending family member(s) to develop healthy parenting strategies, stress-management, and communications skills. Together, SafeSpot’s programs contribute to the county’s social safety net and are geared towards reducing trauma, helping non-offending loved ones, and building happier outcomes and healthier futures.

Working directly with child abuse victims and non-offending family members, SafeSpot is the only Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) in Fairfax County. In Fairfax County, no other agency provides the same Forensic Interviewing (FI), Family Advocacy and no cost mental health therapy services as SafeSpot does. We also work with county agencies to enhance the services they provide to child abuse victims and we also engage in prevention awareness with other non-profits to create a greater impact in the community. All of our services contribute to the county’s social safety net and are geared towards reducing trauma, helping non-offending loved ones, building happier outcomes and healthier futures. FORENSIC INTERVIEW: A forensic interview is a structured conversation with a child about their traumatic experience. It obtains detailed information from the child that is necessary for an investigation, explores safety concerns and assesses the need for medical treatment or psychological care. The invterview allows the abused child to explain what happended in their own words and provides relief to the child to be able to tell their story without judgement. FAMILY ADVOCATE: Child abuse is traumatic and impacts the entire family. Guilt, anger, and blame may alter family dynamics. Financial difficulties may also negatively impact familial relationships. SafeSpot considers the survivorship and strength of the family unit a high priority. The value placed on “family” is the driving force behind providing our clients with professionally trained Family Advocates who listen and provide child victims and their families with support throughout the process. MENTAL HEALTH: Children with a history of sexual abuse may experience a wide range of symptoms including emotional difficulties, behavioral problems, cogenitive symptoms and physiological symptoms. Early identification and treatment of traumatized children can prevent potentially serious and long-term negative outcomes. SafeSpot’s trained mental health professionals utilize a treatment model called Trauma-Focused Congnitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) that reduces a child’s trauma-realted symptoms and responses. TF-CBT teaches children and parents coping skills for regulated behavior and thoughts and focuses on building healthy relationships.

SafeSpot's capabilities lie in its staff, the use of the Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), and program funding approach. SafeSpot has two forensic interviewers, two family advocates, one program assistant who are bilingual, and three full-time therapists. SafeSpot staff are specially trained, very specific to addressing the needs of child. One of the cornerstones of the success of any CAC is the MDT approach to the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child sexual abuse victims. The MDT is comprised of employees from county agencies, medical institutions, and SafeSpot employees, all working towards the best interests of the child. The MDT agencies for SafeSpot are: Fairfax County Police Department, City of Fairfax Police Department, Herndon Police Department, Fairfax County Department of Family Services, Child Protective Services, Fairfax County Victim Services, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Inova – Ewing Forensic Assessment and Consultation Team, and Fairfax County Public Schools. Each MDT member agency provides a representative who attends monthly meetings and serves as a conduit of information and data sharing on cases between all team members. The MDT agency members conduct joint interviews, collect evidence, provide medical/mental assessments/treatment and post-trauma services as well as assist the victim during the investigation and prosecution process (if warranted). Team members share information on ongoing cases and work to provide a coordinated approach. SafeSpot hosts the MDT members and the Executive Director of SafeSpot facilitates the MDT meetings and provides assistance and support as needed to ensure the best interests of the child are met. Aside from local government agencies, SafeSpot also works with other nonprofits to promote the prevention and awareness of child abuse including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia, and Prevent Child Abuse Virginia (PCAV). SafeSpot is an accredited member of the National Children's Alliance (NCA), and both Board President Denise Balzano and Executive Director Michele Thames serve as active board. Another one of SafeSpot’s major differentiators compared to other CACs, is the emphasis we place on providing no cost mental health therapy sessions to children and non-offending caregivers. This service is especially critical in Fairfax County, which offers very few options for free or sliding-scale mental health services to its citizens. Another CAC differentiation is our funding profile, which goes beyond government funding to include diverse resources. We raise funds independently in a variety of ways through a mix of competitive government grants, events, and donations from foundations and private donors to ensure greater sustainability and flexibility of client care. Another differentiator is that we utilize a certified facility dog as part of our therapy program and to accompany a child who must testify in court.

On average, SafeSpot provides 35-40 forensic interviews, and 35-40 family advocacy sessions each month. Therapy sessions can vary based on client interest, but on average, our therapists work with 25-35 children at a time, with each child receiving anywhere from 1-4 sessions per month. While SafeSpot’s three therapists are able to cover the majority of requests for service, we have needed to utilize a wait list in times of greater need. As an agency, we are pursuing potential partnership that may help to alleviate any gaps in therapy services going forward, as well as considering the potential for internal growth. This year, SafeSpot will begin the process of developing and adopting a new, 3-Year Strategic Plan. Our programmatic goals for the plan will include: 1. Providing an on-call forensic interview response for child abuse victims; 2. Expanding our reach to serve child victims affected by commercial sexual exploitation, internet crimes, and witness to homicide and domestic violence; 3. Growing our family advocacy program to incorporate additional families that will be served as a result of the expansion of the forensic interview program; and 4. Eliminating the current wait list for therapy and growing the program to serve 50% more children and non-offending caregivers. In addition, our agency-wide goals will include: 1. Investing in organizational oversight and management, including updating policies and procedures, enhancing financial controls and personnel practices, and implementing operational efficiencies; 2. Transitioning from a founding board of directors to a governing board of directors; 3. Establishing and implementing best practices in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) internally, and applying a cultural-, racial-, and gender-equity lends to all programs; and 4. Further diversifying funding sources to include greater emphasis on grants, major gifts, and planned giving reducing reliance on special events 5. Updating communications and marketing to enhance branding and to engage new members of our community in the mission and work of SafeSpot.

Financials

Safe Children Foundation
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Safe Children Foundation

Board of directors
as of 6/21/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Denise Balzano

Denise Balzano

Community Member

Jim Burns

Arrive Consulting Group

Phil Odeen

Community Member

Kris Debye

Baltimore County CAC (Retired)

Deborah Cochran

Cochran Allan

Bryan Gibson

Fairfax County Public Schools

Patricia Harrison

Fairfax County Government (Retired)

Kara Hourihan

Merkley + Partners

Bootsie Humenansky

Community Member

Annette Kerlin

Kerlin's Mid-Atlantic Distributors

Michelle Kingsley

Community Member

Andrew Klaff

Newmark Knight Frank

Lauren Kushin

Community Member

Mike Kushin

Blackhorse Solutions, Inc.

Armen Manoogian

United Business Technologies

Claudia Manoogian

Community Member

Ralph Masino

Kastle Systems

Jacqui McVey

Community Member

Marge Odeen

Community Member

Charlie Price

Southern Management Corp

Clishia Taylor

American Health Care Professionals of VA

Randy Turk

Baker Botts (Retired)

Jamie Weber

Parkway Specialty Pharmacy

TJ Weber

Kearney & Co.

Charlie Price

Southern Management Group

Clishia Taylor

American Health Care Professionals of VA

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/15/2021

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
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data