The following is a feature on The Children’s Inn, a $2,000 Final Four winner of #FNBGiveFirst 2019
The Children’s Inn, a program of the Children’s Home Society, offers a safe place for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. This includes a number of different programs and services aimed at empowering victims to overcome trauma and rebuild their lives, free from abuse.
The Children’s Inn is perhaps best known for its emergency shelter for abuse victims. The shelter is usually a last resort for victims when they do not have a friend or family to take them in, or the abuse perpetrator lives in the Sioux Falls area.
“We have 24 bedrooms and we have 40 permanent beds. We consider our capacity to be 40,” Children’s Inn Development Coordinator Staci Kropuenske said. “For us, we don’t count the cribs or the roll-away beds. So, we can actually house more than that. We have operated the majority of this year at or above capacity. It’s been a really busy year. We’re averaging 46 people a day.”
The shelter program encourages guests to retain as much normalcy as possible. If a mother and her children are staying at The Children’s Inn, they are served three meals and three snacks a day. In addition, the staff can offer transportation services such as taking kids to school or taking the victim to a court hearing.
“We are open 24/7 and staffed 24 hours a day,” Kropuenske said. “On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when we hope that everybody is getting to spend time with family, we will probably have a house full of individuals who are displaced from their homes because it’s just not safe.”
Another service of The Children’s Inn is its crisis hotline. Abuse victims or those concerned that someone they love is facing abuse can call the hotline for help. Trained professionals provide support, safety planning, and assistance with protection orders. The organization also offers various programs dedicated to rural outreach and advocacy as well as community and parenting education.
“So far this year (through the end of October) we answered 2,502 crisis phone calls, which is up 22% from last year at the same time,” Kropuenske said.
As a non-profit organization, The Children’s Inn is majorly funded by charitable giving. 65% of the organization’s annual budget comes from donations.
“All of those gifts are incredibly important to our work,” Kropuenske said. “We are so honored to be a part of the Final Four.”