“Claire” had been on the run for two weeks when she called our hotline 1-800-SAY-TEEN, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She then came to stay with us at our teen shelter, and had a safe place to sleep.
At first, Claire was apprehensive about sharing personal details. She was afraid that our counselors would return her to live with her father. After talking with the staff at the teen shelter and meeting with Alternative House’s therapist, Claire trusted our staff and explained that her father had been sexually abusing her.
Our staff called Child Protective Services, which launched an investigation into Claire’s situation while she stayed at the teen shelter. The abuse that Claire had silently endured for years had severely damaged her confidence and ability to focus at school. Her grades were suffering.
At the teen shelter, our staff helped Claire learn techniques to cope with trauma and express her feelings effectively. She got help with her schoolwork to get her back on track. Staff also helped Claire build up her self-esteem, which had been greatly impacted by the abuse.
After three weeks, Claire’s grades were improving and she left the teen shelter to live with her new foster family. Staff follow up with Claire regularly to see how she is doing and remind her that our door is always open.