Sheila Wellstone Children’s Program

Children staying at Women’s Advocates arrive with their mothers who are escaping domestic violence. Traumatic experiences, anxiety, depression, poor health, low self-esteem, sleep disorders, and other symptoms are common among children who are actively fleeing domestic violence with their mother. Our experienced and caring Children’s Program staff work in collaboration with Women’s Program team members to ensure both the mother and children have the tools to be safe and well both now and in the future.

Drop-in Child Care

We provide child care for residents while they attend support groups, meet with their advocate, or attend job or housing interviews.  Located in the shelter, women can ensure that their children are well cared for while they attend groups, meetings, or appointments during their stay.

Women’s Advocates provides the safe home environment to which all children are entitled, and our playful and child-focused drop-in childcare room has age appropriate activities for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children and teens.

School Enrollment and Tutoring

We aim to achieve school enrollment for each child within three days of his or her arrival. Children’s Program staff maintain a connection with Saint Paul Public Schools (and others) to ensure school-aged children can receive their school-based education with as little interruption as possible.

Whether students continue attending their home school or identify a new school for safety reasons, we ensure that students are able to focus on their studies while at the shelter, have sufficient school supplies, and adequate and safe transportation to and from their school.

Children's Support Groups

Age appropriate children’s support groups take place on a regular, or often weekly basis:

  • Tutoring through Saint Paul Public Schools’ Project REACH
  • Parenting Group
  • Wellness and Art: Children’s Program staff and volunteers lead regular mother/child wellness and art activities to encourage communication and creativity within the family.
  • Oral Health Education

Children's Case Management and Safety Planning

Children’s Program staff work with each child and their mother at the shelter to nurture each child’s development as the family plans for a stable and peaceful future through discussions about what safety means to each child and parent.

We also conduct an intake assessment with each of the women who arrive with children. This assessment gives us a foundation for goal setting for each child and parent.