Home-SAFE, a division of Vista Del Mar, serves the metropolitan Los Angeles area with prevention and early intervention programs including child care, counseling, parent education, child development guidance, mental health, and family support services. Within the family support services branch, we have The Family Project program which is specifically funded for child abuse/ neglect prevention and early intervention.
Although there is not a single cause, government organizations such as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) cite that abuse and neglect occur most often among families who are under pressure and lack support.
Home-SAFE/Vista Del Mar began providing home-based prevention and early intervention services in 1984. The Early Head Start (EHS) and Family Project programs provide comprehensive home-based child development, health, mental health and family support services to low-income pregnant women and families with children from 0 to 8 years in the greater Hollywood/Wilshire area of Los Angeles County.
During a typical visit, the home visitor from Home-SAFE may help a mother to observe her child, describing and giving meaning to the child’s play and interactions, introduce new toys or mutual play activities, respond to the mother’s behavior and reflect upon how it is affecting her child.
She may incorporate education regarding normal health, nutrition, and development, talk about a recent doctor’s visit, and explore the frustration, disappointment, and helplessness the mother may feel when she is unable to comfort her child.
Below is an example of a scenario where a home visitor plays a role in mitigating a potential conflict between a mother and child.
During a home visit with a Home-SAFE staff member, a potentially explosive situation begins to unfold between a defiant four-year-old and his exhausted mother, the worker helps mom to set appropriate limits, redirect her child and then listens as mom describes her family history of abuse. As things settle down, mom shamefully mentions that she has run out of food. The home visitor helps mom make a plan to get food at a local food bank. As the session comes to an end, the worker summarizes what has happened, and mom and worker together make a plan for the coming week.
Child abuse is a systemic and prevalent issue worldwide that plagues millions of children each year. However, an involvement of a home visitor from an organization like Home-SAFE can help lessen the chance of abuse by providing a support that so many families desperately need.
Please join us in spreading awareness and understanding of child abuse and the conditions which may lead to it.