Join the Board of Directors
Interested in joining the Santa Rosa Kids House Board of Directors?
To join the Santa Rosa Kids’ House Board of Director, please print and fill out the application form below and bring it to our office at 5643 Stewart St, Milton, FL 32570.
For more information on Santa Rosa Kids’ House and the Board of Directors, please scroll down and continue reading.
Introduction to Santa Rosa Kids House
The Santa Rosa Kids’ House is a Child Advocacy Center that has been serving abused and neglected children in Santa Rosa County since June 2008.
From June of 2008 through June of 2010, the Santa Rosa Kids’ House has served 417 child victims and additional family members, using the national Child Advocacy Center service model.
The mission of the Santa Rosa Kids’ House is to deliver a well-coordinated and multi-disciplined response to child abuse in an environment that puts the needs of children first.
The Santa Rosa Kids’ House is a Child Advocacy Center serving Santa Rosa County, in Milton, Florida. In 2003, a group of committed child advocates and Multidisciplinary Team members in Santa Rosa County joined forces to work towards creating a more collaborative response to child abuse and neglect for our county. In 2004, Santa Rosa Kids’ House, Inc. was registered as a corporation and was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status. In 2005, local business man, Howard Burris, bought property and donated one million dollars towards the construction of the building. In October 2006, the board hired an interim Executive Director, Hank Shirah, to oversee the construction of the building and promote the project. Through 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, with community contributions and additional fundraising events, the construction of the Santa Rosa Kids’ House was completed using state of the art equipment.
The 13,000 square foot facility now known as the Santa Rosa Kids’ House was opened to the community in April of 2008 and fully occupied with the various agencies that comprise the multidisciplinary team by June 2008. Our mission is to deliver a well-coordinated and multi-disciplined response to child abuse in an environment that puts the needs of children first. In order to fulfill this mission, the Santa Rosa Kids’ House offers a multidisciplinary team and child-friendly approach to child abuse victims and their families. In addition, the Santa Rosa Kids’ House has expanded upon the traditional service model for Child Advocacy Centers, to include the Florida Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit. This elite team investigates crimes relating to child pornography and the sexual predators attempting to gain access to our children on the internet.
Our facility and grounds were designed and decorated with children in mind. Approaching the facility, visitors will see a large gazebo; children’s play area and front porch with comfortable rocking chairs, where family members and professionals frequently meet to discuss service needs. Inside, Family Greeters welcome children, families, and guests into our waiting area, complete with a salt water aquarium, toys and books designed to set children at ease. Much of our art work was created by children or with children in mind. And, our courtyard provides a small sitting area and butterfly garden where children can run and play.
The Santa Rosa Kids’ House has had a tremendous positive impact on hundreds of children in Santa Rosa County, Florida. Children suffering abuse are referred by law enforcement, social workers, medical professionals, family or neighbors to the house. Here, in a warm, home-like environment, a child is interviewed by a professional who specializes in working with abuse victims of all ages. In order to keep distractions to a minimum, representatives of the local police or Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Children and Families, and the State Attorney’s Office may watch the interview via electronic monitoring equipment. The interview is recorded for possible use in judicial proceedings. Then, following a medical exam designed to detect the physical symptoms of abuse, the professionals discuss each case and work toward a quick resolution. Because all of the government branches involved in the protection of children are represented in these meetings, a child can be removed from an abusive environment on the same day he/she is interviewed.
Although many child victims do not need to be removed from their home in order to be safe, some children do require substitute living arrangements in order to secure their safety. In those cases, the Santa Rosa Kids’ House has a fully furnished “respite room” and a fully equipped kitchen to provide for the immediate care of children while safe living arrangements are being secured. During this time, children are also be provided with personal items, clothing and comfort items (stuffed animals, blankets, books) to take with them to their temporary homes.
To ensure that cases proceed in a manner that promotes accuracy in investigations, as well as the well being of the child, professionals in the multidisciplinary team continue to work together to review active cases, following each through to healthy outcomes. To help ensure the best interests of children are continually met, the Santa Rosa Kids’ House also houses court appointed child advocates through the Florida Guardian ad Litem program.
Although the Florida Attorney General’s Office, Cyber Crimes Unit works primarily on the investigation and enforcement of crimes related to child pornography over the internet, these investigations frequently result in the identification of child victims of sexual abuse, who have their own needs. In these cases, the Cyber Crimes Victim Advocate and Agents coordinate with other professionals in house to ensure victims are receiving the appropriate care, safety planning and service referrals.
Beyond its effective approach to child abuse cases, the Santa Rosa Kids’ House offers on site specialized sexual abuse therapy to help child victims and their families recover from their abuse. A highly trained Lutheran Services Counselor provides individual therapy, child group therapy, and non-offending parents’ group therapy. These services ensure that victims are able to process their abuse experience and learn strategies to keep themselves safe in the future, while helping their non-offending caregivers support their recovery and provide safe environments within which they can transcend their abuse.
Clinicians also serve on the Multidisciplinary Team to provide input regarding a child’s recovery process, family support and ongoing service needs.
More often than not, perpetrators of child abuse were abused themselves as children. In order to stop the cycle of abuse Santa Rosa Kids’ House staff members participate in community outreach to increase public awareness about healthy relationships, child abuse and the recovery process. In addition, the Florida Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit provides education to Santa Rosa County schools on safe internet surfing to students and parents.
Education and Professional Development
With its two conference rooms and kitchen facilities, the Santa Rosa Kids’ House is uniquely designed to host professional meetings, inter-agency collaboratives and professional training on issues relating to child abuse and child abuse prevention.
The Santa Rosa Kids’ House relies on community donations and grant funding for its operations. All services provided by the agencies that comprise the Multidisciplinary Team at the Santa Rosa Kids’ House are funded through state and federal funds, grant funds and private donations.
Responsibilities of the Board
The board can protect itself, and govern the organization, by understanding what it required of it:
1. Determine the Organization’s Mission and Purposes
A statement of mission and purposes should articulate the organization’s goals, means, and primary constituents served. It is the board of directors’ responsibility to create the mission statement and review it periodically for accuracy and validity. Each individual board member should fully understand and support it.
2. Ensure Effective Organizational Planning
As stewards of an organization, boards must actively participate with the staff in overall planning process and assist in implementing the plan’s goals.
3. Ensure Adequate Resources
One of the board’s foremost responsibilities is to provide adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission. The board should work in partnership with the Executive Director to raise funds from the community.
4. Manage Resources Effectively
The board, in order to remain accountable to its donors, the public, and to safeguard its tax-exempt status, must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in control.
5. Determine, Monitor, and Strengthen Programs and Services
The board’s role in this area is to determine which programs are the most consistent with an organization’s mission and to monitor their effectiveness.
6. Enhance the Organization’s Public Image
An organization’s primary link to the community, including constituents, the public and the media, is the board. Clearly articulating the organization’s mission, accomplishments and goals to the public, as well as garnering support from important members of the community, are important elements of a comprehensive public relations strategy.
7. Ensure Legal and Ethical Integrity and Maintain Accountability
The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring adherence to legal standards and ethical norms. Solid personnel policies, grievance procedures, and a clear delegation to the Executive Director of hiring and managing employees will help ensure proper decorum in this area. The board must establish pertinent policies, and adhere to provisions of the organization’s by-laws and articles of incorporation.
8. Recruit and Orient New Board Members; Assess Board Performance
All boards have a responsibility to articulate and make known their needs in terms of member experience, skills, and many other considerations that define a “balanced” board composition. Boards must also orient new board members to their responsibilities and the organization’s history, needs, and challenges. By evaluating its performance in fulfilling its responsibilities, the board can recognize its achievement and reach consensus on which areas need to be improved.