Gulf Coast Kids House focuses on aiding children experiencing abuse
By Kaylee Jones
Gulf Coast Kids House is a nonprofit organization founded in 1998 that helps abused children and their families. It is a safe place for abused children to talk about their issues, and provided the resources to them to include mental health for the child and their family members.
Before this organization founded, abused children would have to go to multiple agencies and talk about their abuse experience. Gulf Coast Kids House eliminates this by working with many different agencies and not making the intervention system a traumatizing experience.
“The key concept behind Gulf Coast Kid’s House is that an abused child only has one place to go to tell his or her experience with abuse” Megan Chapman, outreach and development director of Gulf Coast Kids House said.
GCKH work with both Escambia county Sheriff’s office and Pensacola Police department to investigate the child abuse cases, make arrest, and to testify in court. The Department of Children and Families also investigates allegations of abuse. The Child Protection Team conducts interviews on the children as well as family members who are non-offenders, provides medical examinations and psychological assessments.
The Office of the State Attorney reviews the case information that these sources collect and formally file charges, conducts interviews, and prosecutes the case. Lutheran Services Florida provides mental health treatment for victims, families and/or their care takers, and provides crisis intervention. They also have partnerships with United Way and Manna.
“As a children’s advocacy center,” Megan Chapman said, “we combine all of the professionals and resources needed for the intervention, investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases under one child-friendly facility.”
University of West Florida students can get involved with this organization by volunteering your time. Gulf Coast Kids House has many large fundraisers where they may need over 100 volunteers. They also have events where students can get involved and internship opportunities depending on the major and area of study.
Connect with Gulf Coast Kids House on Facebook or join their newsletter to get involved and learn more.