To help reduce the effects of family violence on children, the AARC Children's Program consists of the following services:
The Family Safety Center (FSC) provides a safe place for parents to temporarily transfer custody of their children and also provides a safe location where noncustodial parents can visit their children. A supervised visit gives children an opportunity to start building non-violent memories about their parents. The goal of FSC is to reduce the risk factors of children who have been abused or have witnessed abuse in their homes.
Children's lives are frequently disrupted by moves to escape domestic violence. They lose considerable school time, must leave friendships behind, and cannot talk about what is going on in their lives. The goal of the children's activity program is to help remove the barriers that make the children feel "different" or "less accepted" in their new environment. The activities developed include fun, group and individual outings and educational indoor activities.
Kid Smarts, formerly the "Our Kids Need To Know," has been in the Bismarck/Mandan school systems since 1984 as a prevention and safety program. Targeted to second grade students, the objective of the program is to give children an awareness about potentially dangerous situations, the personal safety skills necessary to protect themselves, and the knowledge of what to do if they experience actual or potential situations of abuse.
Groups for children who have witnessed violence have four major goals: "breaking the secret" of abuse in the children's families, learning to protect oneself, having a positive experience and strengthening self-esteem. Groups are provided based on the predominate issues of those attending.
The AARC provides support for parents through a weekly parent support and education group. Parents are provided an opportunity to learn and develop skills that they currently may not have to give them the ability and knowledge necessary to raise a child. Parents learn how to develop good relationships with their children that will open lines of communication.