MILTON —Santa Rosa Kid's House has ended another year believing that they have succeeded in its mission to helping children in need.
The Kids' House is a Child Advocacy Center serving Santa Rosa County helping child abuse victims navigate questions and examinations during confusing, vulnerable times. Here, children can receive medical exams and talk to authorities like the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office.
The program was formed in 2004 and the building opened to the community in April of 2008.
Kids' House victim advocate Kelly Sanders said, according to their calculations, they have served 1,122 children in Navarre, Holt, Jay, and Gulf Breeze since January of 2018. The program serves children from ages 0 -18 years old, and according to the program, children up to age 6 are the most vulnerable.
Sanders said people in the community have donated about $132,000 this year as well as clothing, diapers, wipes, gift cards, snacks and meals.
Keith Ann Campbell, executive director for the program, said, historically speaking, 80 percent of the support the program receives is from the community. With the help of the community, Campbell said the program continues to grow every year and its members are able to help more children.
This year she said they were able to offer therapy to children at no cost through the Victims of Crimes Act, federal government legislation aimed at helping the victims of crime through means other than punishment of the criminal.
A highlight for the year, Campbell said, was being awarded the Impact100 grant. She said they are working with the city now to get necessary permits and plan to construct another building behind the current location that would be specifically for child therapy.
Campbell was eager to express her thoughts about how the program did overall for the year.
"We did great," she said. "We continue to grow. Our donations and support continue to grow. We are able to help more children and help with Manna Food Banks."
Campbell said she has several goals for next year including increasing the therapy program and outreach. An agreement is already in place, she said, between the program and the Santa Rosa County School Board to begin an educational training program entitled "Child Safety Matters." She said this program, which was developed by the Monique Burr Foundation, is focused on protecting children and teens from all types of bullying, abuse, and victimization with evidence-based prevention education programs. In addition to doing the education in schools, Campbell said they will be doing therapy at the Kids' House for children with problematic sexual behaviors.
Campbell said she is looking forward to the next year working with the program.
"Every agency we have in Kid's House is supportive and works together," she said.