July 23, 2019

Two Local Nonprofits Join Forces to Support Children Facing Multiple Systemic Obstacles

Partnership between Childhaven and Friends of the Children–Seattle will ensure youth receive the support they need to thrive.

SEATTLE – Local nonprofits Friends of the Children–Seattle (Friends–Seattle) and Childhaven are proud to announce a strategic partnership this spring to benefit youth facing systemic barriers in the Seattle area. By better-coordinating services, the two organizations will create a seamless pipeline of care, increasing their impact on youth and the community at large.

“This warm handoff from Childhaven to Friends of the Children is an obvious choice,” said Steve Lewis, executive director at Friends–Seattle. “To impact the long-term outcomes of youth in foster care and youth who have experienced trauma, it is critical that we break down barriers across sectors and nonprofits to put youth first.”

Childhaven is an organization that serves children from birth to five who have significant mental health, emotional and developmental needs. At five, Childhaven passes those children on to the Washington school systems, hoping they can thrive despite the adversity they have faced. Oftentimes the school system is unable to collaborate with early learning service providers in a fashion that sets all children up for success.

Friends–Seattle is a relationship-based organization that pairs youth facing multiple systemic obstacles with a professional mentor from kindergarten through high school graduation. Friends–Seattle has found that enrolling youth who at five may already have faced trauma is the most effective way of supporting the long term success of these youth. They ensure youth avoid early parenting and involvement with the juvenile justice system and graduate high school with plans for a bright future.

Working with Childhaven enables Friends–Seattle to better understand the background of incoming youth and families and ensure a more seamless transition than what was previously possible.

“Where there was once a cliff, we have built a bridge for the kids in our program,” said Jon Botten, CEO of Childhaven. “Most agencies just refer clients back and forth without coordinating in any way, which doesn’t always translate into positive outcomes. With this partnership, we can do more than just refer. We can share best practices and service plans, and we can follow the success of Childhaven clients after they age out of our early learning programs.”

For the future youth who enroll in both Childhaven and Friends–Seattle programs, and for their families, comes a unique and truly groundbreaking partnership that will provide unprecedented support and resources from infancy through young adulthood.

“It is a win-win for both programs,” said Lewis. “The shared expertise between our organizations will better benefit the children, families and ultimately the community.”

About Friends of the Children

Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit based in Portland, Ore., with the mission of breaking the cycle of generational poverty by giving the most vulnerable children the ability to create a new story. We select children ages 4 to 6 from high-poverty schools and the foster care system and pair them with a salaried, professional mentor who stays with them from kindergarten through graduation. Our mentors support and guide our children in becoming healthy and contributing members in their communities. Our successful model is now in 15 locations, including four sites in Oregon (Portland, Gresham, Klamath Falls and Central Oregon); Austin, Texas; Boston, Mass., Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago, I.L.; Harlem and the South Bronx, N.Y.; Los Angeles and San Francisco, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Tampa Bay, Fla.; and Cornwall, U.K.

About Childhaven

Childhaven partners with parents and community to strengthen families; prevents childhood trauma and its damaging effects; and prepares children for a lifetime of well-being. They offer a wide range of services to children and families with significant mental health, emotional, and developmental needs, including: trauma-informed infant care and preschool, developmental therapy, and outpatient mental health services. The organization has served the Seattle area since 1909; today, it offers services at four sites across King County.