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Womens Center & Shelter

Meet our Children’s Support Staff: Kayla & Lily!

Domestic Violence Affects Children

When it comes to domestic violence, children are often the forgotten victims. Whether or not the violence is taken out on children, simply witnessing it can have deep, lasting effects.

In the US, more than 15 million children live in homes in which domestic violence has happened at least one time. As adults, they are at a much higher risk for repeating these acts by entering into abusive relationships or becoming abusers themselves. For example, a boy who sees his mother being abused is 10 times more likely to abuse his female partner as an adult. A girl who grows up in a home where her father abuses her mother is more than six times as likely to be sexually abused as a girl who grows up in a non-abusive home. [1]

Helping children heal from the trauma they’ve experienced and hold inside is vital. One of the best ways we can help is to offer support, because the mental health of a child is just as important as their physical health.

Who’s Who on the Children’s Support Team?

Children's Support TeamAt WC&S, we are thrilled to offer a new Children’s Support Team for those we serve! Kayla, our Children’s Counselor and Lily, our Children’s Support Advocate. They both have impressive backgrounds, making them great new additions!

Kayla has been working with us for over 3 years as a Children’s Advocate while obtaining her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. As she completed her degree, the position was created and she could not have been a more perfect candidate!

Lily is new to us, but has plenty of experience to be an outstanding member of our staff. She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work. Before joining our team, Lily worked as a nanny, a mental health counselor, and with numerous children’s programs and advocacy positions.

The Services We Offer

The Children’s Support Team offers quite a few valuable services.

Both Kayla and Lily work together to provide support-based, therapeutic groups for shelter clients. These groups are split into groups for mothers and groups for children, and are designed to be safe, comfortable places to genuinely connect with others. “One of our main goals is to ensure that there is consistency between the child’s home life and their new shelter life,” said Kayla. “Consistency is incredibly important for children!”

Kayla’s primary role is individual counseling for children ages 5-17 years old. The “kiddos” as she loves to refer to them, can be resident or non-resident clients, as long as their parents are or have been served by WC&S. Children can still be seen by Kayla even after exiting shelter. Along with individual counseling and groups, Kayla also supports our monthly Trauma Information Series.

Lily’s focus is not only on the children we serve, but their mothers, too. She works with the Children’s Advocates, providing childcare and support for all of the kids’ necessities. She also helps to ensure that the children are enrolled in school and have transportation to and from school. What differentiates Lily’s role from the other Children’s Advocates is her ability to provide parental and behavioral support. She provides assessments to identify issues and needs, and meets with the mothers individually to address behavioral concerns and parenting tools/strategies. Lily also holds Teen Nights, a time for teens to unwind and enjoy themselves by watching movies, partaking in different activities, and having great conversation.

What They Enjoy Most About Their Positions

Both Kayla and Lily love what they do and the families they work with, but some parts easily extend as their favorite. For Kayla, helping the kiddos to find their resilience, strength, and tools they have to get through tough times makes her job most gratifying. The level of connection Lily is able to establish with both children and mothers is her favorite part of her position. Seeing the level of connection pay off, such as a particularly bashful child remembering her name, is most rewarding to her.

[1] Stat