Emina Delić has worked at the WCA for 23 years—19 of those in a management role overseeing the victim service program childcare. Her team supports clients by offering childcare services both at the downtown office and at the shelter campus. The childcare at the shelter is fully-licensed; clients may be off-site while their children are in childcare. However, they must remain on-site when utilizing the unlicensed downtown childcare location. Clients of the WCA may have experienced chaotic, unpredictable households. The cycle of violence that perpetuates domestic abuse may create an environment in which the abused and their children are constantly in “survival mode.” According to Emina, “When you are in survival mode, with all of the trauma and the effects that trauma has on the brain, not having support may stop you from being able to move forward.”
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Childcare service is a crucial component in the healing process for clients with children. Without a safe place to depend on for childcare, clients are not able to focus their attention on the healing and planning that needs to be done. Emina, a mother of two, agrees that this service is essential to provide some relief to the clients. “I know if I would have had to leave my kids somewhere, and if I didn’t know that they were going to be safe, I would not be able to focus and relax or really be in problem-solving mode or planning for the future,” she says.
The WCA childcare team is constantly in dialogue with the parents. They invite the parent to come observe the interacting and playing with the children, relay strategies and methods that they have been using, and work to give the family ideas that they can try in their own homes. “We’re not just looking at today and tomorrow,” says Emina. “We’re looking to give resources to the families so that they’re ready to move out and have the tools to do so.” In Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meetings, the childcare team comes together with case managers, clinicians, and shelter staff to share updates and insights, and provide support for each other. “It’s where everything comes together. You can’t provide healing within family if you don’t know the whole picture.”
The main goal of the childcare team is to provide safe, welcoming, trauma-informed, routine-based care for the children. The staff and volunteers understand the backgrounds of the children and the experiences they may have had or witnessed. The childcare team agrees that consistent relationships and a predictable routine are the first steps toward giving the children peace of mind.