What is “Safe Place”?
Safe Place is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people in need of immediate help and safety. As a community-based program, Safe Place designates businesses and organizations as Safe Place locations, making help readily available to youth in communities across the country. The City of Decatur Fire/Rescue Stations are now both registered as a “Safe Place” for young people. Our Yellow signs are ordered and will be up soon.
You may have seen the signs at other places, like QT gas stations who also partner with the organization. The recognizable logos are not worth while though if young people do not know these type of places exist.
Why do youth need Safe Place?
Youth may experience difficult problems during their young lives: abuse, neglect, family troubles, dangerous dating situations, bullying, homelessness, drug abuse, etc. These, among other problems, may lead young people to make difficult, and sometimes dangerous, decisions in an effort to escape what it is they are going through. Sometimes, youth feel they don’t belong, and leaving home is often not a choice they want to make. Yet, national agencies estimate that between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away from home each year.
No matter the reason, young people have a place to turn in times of need. Youth may visit any designated Safe Place site location and receive immediate help. They may also TXT 4 HELP to receive information about the closest Safe Place location and to chat with a professional for more help.
Children and teens deserve access to a Safe Place and a chance to work through their problems with the support of caring adults.
How Safe Place Works
If a young person needs immediate help, they can depend on any location with the Safe Place sign. The following steps describe how Safe Place is intended to work:
Step One – A young person enters a Safe Place and asks for help.
Step Two – The site employee finds a comfortable place for the youth to wait while they call the licensed Safe Place agency.
Step Three – Within 20-30 minutes or less, a qualified Safe Place volunteer or agency staff member will arrive to talk with the youth and, if necessary, provide transportation to the agency.
Step Four – Once at the agency, counselors meet with the youth and provide support. Agency staff makes sure the youth and their families receive the help and professional services they need.
How do youth learn about Safe Place? Most young people hear about Safe Place during school presentations. Each student is presented with a Safe Place information card that has the local Safe Place phone number and explains that Safe Place help is free and confidential. Teens also hear about the program through word of mouth, social media and public service announcements on radio or TV.