Shelter Program

Children are often the silent victims of domestic violence. PCDSVS recognizes that living in any type of shelter can be scary for a child, especially after fleeing from an abusive home. Therefore, our shelter staff includes a child advocate who is available to meet the needs of the children staying there. This can include group activities, collaboration with the child’s school, individual counseling, and referrals to outside programs.

PALS: Peace, A Learned Solution (A collaborative program of Jewish Family Service & Children’s Center and the Passaic County Domestic and Sexual Violence Services)

PALS is a six-month structured therapeutic program to learn how to apply peaceful solutions to conflict. Both violence and peaceful solutions are learned by children through experience. Data indicate that children living in a violent home may exhibit serious signs of depression, aggression, poor self esteem, scholastic and/or social difficulties.

Description of Program

The PALS Program is unique in its exclusive use of creative arts modalities to assist child victims of domestic violence in the healing process. A host of modalities including art, play, drama, and movement therapies are used to assist in the child’s healing. In the therapy session, children create artwork, play, use drama and/or dance what is representative of their traumatic experience. These expressive skills help the child create emotional distance from the trauma. The child can then learn how to set goals and how to apply peaceful solutions to conflict. Children involved in PALS Programs have shown reduced aggression and improved self esteem.

As the children work on creative experiences, the custodial parent works intensively with a PALS therapist and a case manager to address the parent’s own victimization, parenting concerns, and concrete family needs.

Entry into the Program:

Children ages 3-12 years who have experienced/witnessed domestic violence
Children must fully toilet trained
Children must be able to communicate verbally with other children and adults
No violence or abuse in the home for 6 months
A six-month commitment with sessions up to 2 times per week of individual, group, and family counseling
Custodial parent(s) must agree to meet with PALS case manager once every two weeks to complete all paperwork and assessments and to be involved with his or her own therapeutic activity at the agency on a weekly basis
Custodial parent must participate in a parenting program such as The Parenting Journey or equivalent

Services Include:

Weekly individual, family, and group therapy for six months
Creative art therapies for children
Individualized case management to assist the parent in setting up any concrete needs such as housing, daycare, healthcare, educational, budgeting, and parenting needs
Individual therapy for the parent to address own counseling needs
Transportation on an “as needed” basis to and from each session
PALS is funded through the support NJ Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) so that we can provide our services at no cost
Services are available in both English and Spanish

For more information on PALS, please call: 973-777-7638