Local shelter knows how to make traumatized children feel safe and wanted

June 20, 2018 - 7:48 am

A local children's shelter knows exactly what it takes to help kids in the most traumatic circumstances.

Children show up, often in the middle of the night, to the Salvation Army Children's Shelter in Kansas City. Most are taken from their homes and put into protective custody. 

There are no bars on the windows. The facility does not look scary or "institutional," said Erin Eaton, shelter director.

"Stuffed animals on their beds and toys to play with," Eaton said. "It's noisy and it's chaotic and it's wonderful."

Eaton's first goal for each child is to instill a feeling of safety, regardless of what he or she has been through.

"All my staff are trained in how to do the intake process and to be comforting and extra loving, right at the beginning," Eaton said.

The shelter offers routines, playtime and careful discipline when the children break the rules. 

This week the children at the shelter are attending vacation Bible school. During the school year, the children are taken in minivans to their schools, as long as they are within 90 minutes of the shelter.

The average stay for kids in the shelter is 24 days.

The annual KMBZ radiothon to raise money for the shelter is August 9.

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