In 1986, The Haven, a shelter for abused, abandoned, and neglected children from birth to age six, began as a project of the Junior League of South Brevard. The nine-bed shelter opened in April 1987. The hard work and perseverance of the staff, volunteers and community was the key to survival and success as we addressed this critical problem.
In 1999, as the need for foster care continued to grow, the Board of Directors of The Haven proposed a project to build and furnish a second home which was accepted by the Junior League. The new home, Haven II, opened in October 2001—all nine beds were filled immediately. As the demand for care for older children increased, The Haven extended the age limit of children in our care from birth to age ten at admittance.
Because child abuse and neglect continued to be a serious problem in Brevard and central Florida, The Haven receives phone calls daily from agencies needing to place a child. In 2005, the Board of Directors approved the purchase and remodeling of a third home to care for additional children. In late March of 2008, Haven III welcomed nine new children to our homelike environment.
Since The Haven opened its doors in 1987, nearly 4000 children have benefited from the love and care provided by our trained and dedicated staff. While some children remain in our care for a few days, weeks, or months, others have been in our care for several years. Unfortunately, all of our beds are always filled and we often have to turn away requests for placement. The Haven is operated by a board of directors composed of community members who are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for the children entrusted to our program. Our Executive Director reports to the Board and is responsible for the operation of the facilities.
The homes are staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with caregivers who are dedicated to nourishing and protecting the residential children while meeting their daily needs and beginning the process of healing and positive self growth. With many community resources, the trained staff is able to gradually heal the hurts and begin to fill in the developmental gaps through counseling, physical therapy, and behavior modification therapy.
The Haven’s program is an often-cited model for shelter homes. Our staff is trained to care for the many special needs children who come from severely abusive family situations. These needs may also arise because of the birth mother’s abuse of drugs or alcohol during pregnancy often resulting in babies born with developmental delays. The Haven is one of a very few places that carry the therapeutic shelter care designation.