When Children Move Into A Shelter

What happens to children when they move into a shelter?

Many children whose mothers have been abused have themselves suffered from the violence of their fathers.  In this case, children who move into a shelter may have to change schools to remain safe from the batterer.  WCET has arrangements with neighborhood schools to help keep the children safe.  Their files are often restricted, and their new address kept confidential.  This way, the abusive father will not be able to harm the children or their mother.

In other cases, when the father has not harmed the children, the courts may advise visits between them.  It may be an informal agreement where the mother drops the children for the day or weekend, or a formal program of visitation supervised by personnel.  The focus is on keeping the children safe, while attending their essential need for healthy contact with both parents.

Children who have witnessed violence between their parents or felt the brunt end of violence themselves may experience emotional and psychological turmoil due to the anxiety of living in such a household.  For this reason, WCET may provide counseling services to the children to help them understand and cope with the fear and confusion.  In other cases, the children may be referred to services available at the shelter.