Posted on June 15, 2017

Children's Program Overview

"The majority of our kids — more than 60 percent – have been exposed to crime, abuse, and violence within the past year — many in their own homes. Ten percent of children in the United States have suffered some form of abuse or neglect; one in sixteen has been victimized sexually….The problem of children’s exposure to violence is an urgent one, one we can’t afford to ignore."

-Former U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder

The fact that you're reading this shows that you are making the choice to not ignore the impact that violence can have on children in our community. 1 in 4 women are victims of violence and their children are impacted whether they experience the violence directly or through exposure. At Friends of the Family we work to provide comprehensive services for women and children who are victims of sexual and domestic violence. In 2016, we provided 2,728 counseling services to children and adolescents who had been impacted by violence right here in our community. In March alone of this year our children's program expert staff provided therapy services to 132 children. Clients can access all of the services offered by the children's program at no cost. If you or someone you know needs help reach out. 

How To Get Help

The Problem

15.5 million children a year are exposed to domestic violence. That would be 40,000 children exposed to violence in their homes in Denton County in the year 2015. This type of crime is pervasive, and can make a lasting impact on not only the victim, but everyone that they know. For all of the people out there who have been impacted, please know that you are not alone. Together we will work to prevent violence through education, and our community's access to comprehensive services (like those at Friends of the Family) can make all the difference!

What Do Children Learn When Exposed to Violence? 

  • The world is unstable and unsafe
  • Violence is the best way to resolve conflicts, assert one's view, get one's way
  • Violence is a way to release stress and tension 
  • I have to be in control to be ok
  • "It is my fault my parents fight"
  • People sometimes deserve to be hit 
  • Violence is an inherent part of a loving relationship 

In 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder launched the groundbreaking Defending Childhood Initiative to address a national crisis. They belive that "although the prevalence of children’s exposure to violence is overwhelming, there is clear evidence that simple solutions can help children to heal and thrive. We all have a role to play in preventing violence in our communities and supporting children who have been exposed to violence. Knowing the facts about children’s exposure to violence, as well as the factors that promote resilience, is the first step to changing the course for children in our communities." At Friends of the Family we work to provide just these type of solutions for children here in Denton County. 

What Does Our Children's Program Offer? 

  • Parent orientation is designed to introduce parents to our counseling program and to provide them with therapeutic skills to aid in managing trauma responses in their children.
  • Child-parent relationship training classes work to enhance relationships and increase attachment between caregivers and their children. 
  • Play therapy for children ages 3-10 
  • Activity therapy for ages 3-17 
  • Several groups for males ages 11 and 12, 13 and 14 and 15-17
  • Several groups for females ages 11 and 12, 13 and 14, 15-17 

What Is Play Therapy? 

At Friends of the Family we integrate different play therapy interventions based on the needs of each child. Our primary goal is to create a warm and safe environment where a child can learn to understand the wonderful things about themselves, come to believe there are safe places in the world, and some people will love you just the way you are and can be trusted. The University of North Texas' Center for Play Therapy, describes play therapy like this: "Play therapy is to children what counseling is to adults. Play therapy utilizes play, children's natural medium of expression, to help them express their feelings more easily through toys instead of words."

Association for Play Therapy (APT) defines play therapy as "the systematic use of a theoretical model to establish an interpersonal process wherein trained play therapists use the therapeutic powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development." 

Our play therapy programs start as early as age 3 and services are provided at no cost to the family. Any family who has been impacted by sexual or domestic violence is eligible for servies at our agency including our play therapy program.

How To Get Help

Ready To Make An Impact?

Donate 

Every $65 provides an hour of play therapy for a child who has been impacted by sexual or domestic violence. 

Volunteer 

Ready to get to work. Come volunteer with our Children's Program.

Advocate 

Get educated. Learn more about the impact of sexual and domestic violence in our community. 

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Typical warning signs of abuse

1 in 4 women will experience intimate partner violence

404 clients were provided legal counsel in 2016