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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Safe Harbor Program for Children and Teens?

We provide peer support groups for children/teens from 4 to 18 years of age.  We also run support group for young adults ages 19 through 29.  We provide no private therapy or counseling.  Children and teens meet peers and their families who have also experienced the death of a parent, primary caregiver, brother, sister, or friend.

Children are grouped together by age and the groups meet for 1½ hours every other week.  Participants experience talking circle time and can express their feelings and thoughts through play, art or music activities in well-equipped and supervised rooms.

All groups are facilitated by professional staff members and trained volunteers.  A music therapist, art specialist and animal-assisted therapist are also available to assist our support groups.

How Much Does It Cost?

We do not charge a fee.

What Happens After Initial Call?

Once the Telephone Intake Information Form is completed by one of our Program Coordinators, you will be scheduled to attend an orientation and a Family Information Packet will be sent to you.

What Happens at the One-Hour Orientation?

The program is explained to the adults and children/teens.  You will view a video showing Safe Harbor families.  Questions are answered.  A tour is given.  After the orientation, a family can discuss and decide whether or not Safe Harbor will meet their needs.  Coming to an orientation does not mean the child/teen becomes a participant.  We encourage the adults to allow the child/teen to make the final decision.

How Long after the Death Does a Family Need to Wait Before Calling?

A family can call and start the process for participation as soon as they think they are ready.  We believe each person and family grieves differently.  The family is the best judge of when they are ready to deal with the death in a support group.  Families have called as soon as one week after the death, and as long as 3 years after the death.

How Long is a Family Expected to Attend Groups?

We believe in the uniqueness of the intensity and duration of grief for each individual and family.  Children/teens choose when to start and when to stop attending.  If a family is enrolled in a group, we expect regular attendance.  A family is expected to call if they must be absent.  Continuity of attendance is important to build the peer group into a supportive environment for grief work.

What if My Child/Teen Needs Private Therapy?

If you need a private therapist, we will provide you with a list of recommended therapists.

How do I Get My Child/Teen Started?

The steps for joining the Safe Harbor Program are:

  1. A parent or guardian calls Safe Harbor, 215-481-5983, and leaves his/her name and telephone number on the voice mail system.  A Program Coordinator will return your call and complete a “Telephone Intake Information Form.”  At this time you will have an opportunity to ask any questions about Safe Harbor.  A Family Information Packet describing Safe Harbor will be sent or emailed to you.
  1. If you are interested in learning more about the Safe Harbor Program after receiving the Family Information Packet, contact us to schedule an orientation for your family.  Please call if you are unable to attend the orientation at you scheduled time.
  1. At the orientation meeting, you and your child/children will receive information about the services at Safe Harbor, view a video about Safe Harbor, take a tour of the facility and have an opportunity to ask any questions. 
  1. After the orientation, we suggest you discuss with each child/teen individually his or her interest in coming to Safe Harbor.  We encourage you to allow each child to decide about participation.  If interested, you must contact Safe Harbor regarding group times and starting dates.

Please contact us at 215-481-5983 or email safeharbor@abingtonhealth.org if we can help in any way.

Helping through Donation

Safe Harbor needs your help to sustain and expand our program.  We rely on contributions from individuals, businesses, organizations and foundations. Please contact the Office of Philanthropy at 215-481-4438 or Safe Harbor at 215-481-5983 for more information about donations or gifts-in-kind.