To help you learn more about the incredible work being done by this local nonprofit, we sat down with its Director of Advocacy/Policy and Community Engagement, Sheryl Clinger. Here is what she had to say:
What do you love about being a part of The Center for Family Safety and Healing, and what do you want people to know about the organization?
I started with the organization back in 2005 and currently serve as the Director of Advocacy/Policy and Community Engagement. The Center for Family Safety and Healing was started in 1998. We were founded by Mrs. Abigail Wexner. She thought it was important that there was a place in the community that could help people understand the issue of family violence. As such, our work supports many different parties impacted by family violence, including victim services, legal systems, healthcare providers and local businesses.
Our organization is located on the campus of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and we are one of the first organizations in the country to have a co-location with various partners, including Franklin County Children Services, the Franklin Country Prosecutors Office, the Columbus Division of Police Special Victims Unit and Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As such, we're able to utilize a multidisciplinary team approach consisting of medical, social work, law enforcement, prosecutor’s office and child protective services. This approach minimizes a child’s need to repeatedly tell his or her story of abuse.
What is the mission of The Center for Family Safety and Healing?
Our mission is to break the cycle of violence and give people hope. It’s important work and we want people to know they are not alone. We are here to help!
What type of work does The Center for Family Safety and Healing do on a day-to-day basis?
We have a lot of different programs within our organization. Our Child Assessment Center provides responsive and timely medical assessment and treatment for those who have experienced child abuse, neglect or exposure to family violence. We also have home visiting programs through Healthy Families of America and Nurse-Family Partnership. These programs help provide resources to low income families and support better birth outcomes in our community.
The Center for Family Safety and Healing also has a partnership with Franklin County Children Services called Fostering Connections. This is a specialized clinic to ensure children have well and sick visits in a medical home. Children in foster care often aren’t able to have regular medical home visits. With this partnership, we look into medical homes for these children, so they always have a place for their medical appointments.
One of our other big activities that I am involved with is our training and advocacy in the community. We have trainers that are able to provide no cost training around the issue of family violence. We focus on, what we call, the three Rs: How to recognize signs, how to respond appropriately and how to get people referred to appropriate resources. We do our best to customize our training depending on the type of audience we have.
Most recently, we started a bystander program called Where’s The Line? It is a first-of-its-kind effort designed to increase awareness of family violence. Bystanders can call 844-234-LINE (5463), text 87028 or chat at www.WheresTheLine.info. The Information Coordinator will provide confidential answers and advice.
What sort of activities or events does your charity organize?
Rock ‘n Bowl is an annual TCFSH fundraising event coordinated by the Development Board of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in partnership with the Columbus Bar Association. This year was the 24th annual event, and it is just a big day of bowling at the Columbus Square Bowling Palace. We get 64 lanes in the facility and we do three sessions. Over 900 people come through that day alone! Last year, we were fortunate enough to raise about $225,000. Rock ‘n Bowl is our biggest fundraiser and it is a great way to involve the community.
What have been some of The Center for Family Safety and Healing’s biggest accomplishments in the past five years?
Our biggest accomplishments are our ongoing commitments and partnerships in the community through trainings with small, medium and large companies. Our Where’s The Line? program has also had a positive impact in the community. We also expanded our Nurse-Family Partnership program, which is where our nurses go to peoples’ homes for visits, and are currently in the process of working closely with the Westerville Police Department to expand our adult services program in the Westerville area. Additionally, we’ve established an ongoing research collaborative and are in the process of developing an e-learning platform so we can have another way to educate people around the important issue of family violence.
What does it mean to be a part of the Change for Charity program?
We are grateful to be chosen as a Change For Charity recipient, especially since it’s the Easton Community Foundation’s 20th Year of Giving. We see hundreds of families each year who are experiencing some form of family violence. The funds received through this program will allow us to continue restoring hope in our community. As a Change for Charity recipient, we're able to increase exposure for our organization through onsite signage and booth space. We recently held a free training at Easton to educate parents of teens about digital dating and provide technology tips.
How does your organization plan to use the funds it raises from the Change for Charity program?
We see hundreds of families each year who are experiencing some form of family violence. The funds received through this program will allow us to continue restoring hope in our community by supporting a variety of our programs and services for children and adults.
Other than participate in Change for Charity, how can people support The Center for Family Safety and Healing?
There are so many ways people can support The Center for Family Safety and Healing. People can go to our website and donate money or items, such as toys, blankets, toiletries, etc. We are often in need of new stuffed animals and books. After a child has an assessment, they get to pick out a new book and a stuffed animal to take home with them. In the past, people have donated wipes and diapers, which are huge for our home visiting program. Additionally, we take gift cards and even have Amazon wish lists for both child and adult victims. People can go into our list, choose the items they want to donate, and everything gets shipped right to our office–it’s wonderful.
If you’d like to get involved with The Center for Family Safety and Healing, visit their website, or give them a call at (614) 722-8200. You can also learn more about supporting The Center for Family Safety and Healing here.