Nonprofit spotlight: Childhaven

By Gloris Estrella
Friday, June 01, 2018

Photo courtesy of Childhaven.

The Premera Social Impact program was established a little over a year ago, and in our short time in partnership with each nonprofit, we continue to learn so much from them. In late 2017, Childhaven received a grant from Premera Social Impact. Chris Hafner, Grants and Foundations Manager at Childhaven, shares a bit about their organization and how the Premera Social Impact grant has propelled their work.

A little bit about Childhaven:
Hafner: Childhaven provides therapeutic care for trauma-affected children and families. Our programs support healthy development in the first five to six years of life, before children enter kindergarten. This is a critical window where over 90% of brain development occurs and where the impact of trauma can still be reversed. At the core of our programs is a concept called “therapeutic early learning.” Science tells us that we must support cognitive, social and emotional development simultaneously in order to prepare children for school and for life.

Our goal is to provide these families with services that help them overcome any struggles they face. When parents are supported and healthy attachments can occur between caregivers and children, they heal together as a family—and the child gets what it needs to grow, learn and thrive.

How are you using the Premera Social Impact grant?
Hafner: The Premera Social Impact grant is helping to launch Childhaven’s Continuum of Care program model expansion. This evidence-based model will expand our trauma-informed treatment and wrap-around services to address gaps in our services and better impact the whole family health on a variable intensity based on individual needs.

Right now, the families in our programs have to go to other organizations to receive some of the care they need, including services such as speech and occupational therapy, behavioral health and others. Premera is helping us expand our service offerings and provide more comprehensive care—which will, in turn, support the very best outcomes for families. We’ve heard from many caregivers in our programs that getting everything they need under one roof would make a huge difference in their lives. For some of them, access to services is so fragmented across facilities and locations that they give up on navigating social services out of frustration.

Adding these services will also allow us to provide care for more families in our region. Today, we don't offer therapy on an outpatient basis, but thanks to Premera, we're going to start doing so this year! It's very exciting; we'll potentially be able to serve hundreds more than we ever have in the past.

Lessons learned
Hafner: With the rates of homelessness, substance abuse, and untreated mental illness on the rise in the Puget Sound region, we want to ensure that we're creating access to quality care for families to meet an ever-increasing need. So we're looking forward to reaching more people in the coming year, and to giving them more comprehensive care—thanks to Premera's investment.

We also use efficacy measures and evaluations to make sure that our programs are achieving the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes necessary to build resilience and kindergarten readiness for King County’s most vulnerable children. And we hear over and over again that more than anything, Childhaven provides stability for families who have none—we strive to create trusting relationships with children and caregivers. This quote from Jennifer, a parent in our programs, sums it up: "I’ve been let down by a lot of people in my life. But Childhaven has never let me down. I hope that more families are able to access the resources that mine received from Childhaven."

Moving forward
As we enter our second year of the Premera Social Impact program, we are diving deeper into working in partnership with each nonprofit we’ve partnered with. To learn from them and continue to find ways to amplify and elevate the learnings. Our commitment of working with our partners to create greater impact in ensuring everyone received quality care is a significant drive to continue this work.

Watch the KING5 segment on Childhaven below.

Gloris Estrella is on the Premera Social Impact team. 

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