The Rainbow House Children's Resource Center, the first Child Advocacy Center in Georgia, was established in 1986. A concerned group of citizens, later known as the Houston County Child Abuse Task Force, established Rainbow House to serve victims of child sexual abuse.
Rainbow House CRC which is located in Warner Robins, Georgia continues to serve child crime victims in Houston County and surrounding counties where there is no CAC.
Our mission is to serve all children by strengthening our community's response to child abuse and neglect through prevention, intervention, and advocacy efforts.
Kem Sanderson, the Executive Director of Rainbow House works with a staff that includes Linita Berryman, Advocacy Program Director; Tian Foss, Prevention Programs Director; and Barbara Jernigan, Office Manager. The dedicated staff works diligently to fulfill its mission through two broad programs; Child Abuse Prevention Programs; and the Child Advocacy Center Program.
The Child Abuse Prevention Programs include school-based programs, First Steps, and leadership and partnership with the Houston County Child Abuse Prevention Council. Through the Preventions Programs, Rainbow House also offers educational and prevention strategies to community children and adults. Rainbow House offers two school-based programs to all Houston County elementary schools--private and public. These programs aim to empower children to say no to unwanted touches, to get away, and then to tell an adult whom they trust if someone is behaving in a manner that makes them uncomfortable. Currently the programs are offered at the 2nd and 4th grade level.
First Steps is a primary prevention program of Prevent Child Abuse Georgia. It is a volunteer-based program that assists new parents by offering initial hospital visitation, emotional support, parenting education, community referral and follow-up phone contact for three months after delivery.
The Rainbow House also leads prevention efforts in the community through leadership and participation on the Houston County Child Abuse Prevention Council. Some of the responsibilities of the Council include organizing and planning Child Abuse Prevention Month Activities and car seat safety checks.
Currently, the Prevention Program is collaborating with community partners to offer teen parent support to pregnant teens, teen parents and the teens' parents.
The Child Advocacy Center Program is the intervention and advocacy component of the Rainbow House. The CAC offers a child-friendly setting for the video-taping of the forensic interview, a contracted, specially trained forensic interviewer, a child advocate, office space for a private, on-site therapist and office space for a local private psychologist. Both these experts render services to Rainbow House clients and serve on the Houston County Child Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team. Other members on the MDT include the Chief Assistant District Attorney, the head of the Special Victims' Unit, the Juvenile Law Enforcement Supervisor and Investigators, the Department of Child and Family Services Supervisor and Investigators, the Rainbow House Victim Advocate and a Public Health Nurse. Our monthly team review is facilitated by the head of the Special Victims' Unit.
Other services available to child abuse victims and their non-offending caregivers include: crisis counseling, explanation of the investigatory and judicial process, explanation of crime victim rights, assistance with filing of victims' compensation application, identification of community resources and community referrals, therapeutic referrals services, telephone contact and follow up, case management, forensic interviewing, court notification, court accompaniment, criminal justice support and a non-offending caregivers support group.
Two final additions to the Rainbow House resource pool are Stop It Now! GA. and monthly brown bag lunch-and-learn opportunities. Stop It Now! GA is a program of Prevent Child Abuse International and is its newest initiative to shift the responsibility of child abuse prevention and child safety onto the shoulders of responsible adults where it belongs. Both program directors are using these strategies to enhance their services to promote primary prevention and tertiary prevention to extinguish re-victimization. Tian and Linita facilitate these trainings on request to any group of interested adults.
The Rainbow House does all this and more to realize its vision that all children will be free from child abuse.