Each year, Wellspring Community Services helps more than 5,000 children, adults and families who are experiencing crisis tap into their own resilience and strength to take the next step forward.
Early Learning Center
All children deserve an equal chance to succeed in school and in life. The Wellspring Early Learning Center (ELC) was founded in 1988 to address the overwhelming demand for early education services for young homeless children in Seattle and King County. The program is specially designed to promote the cognitive, social and emotional development of young children who have experienced homelessness and trauma.
Every day, 800 homeless children in King County are experiencing the damaging effects of toxic stress on their brain development, leading to lifelong problems in learning, behavior, and physical and mental health. Wellspring's ELC works to provide kids with the stability they need to "rewire" and repair the damage caused by toxic stress.
The ELC fosters age-appropriate development and school readiness in young children. Services include transportation, on-site health care, and nutritious meals and snacks. Culturally relevant learning activities help homeless children increase self-help skills, improve communication with adults and other children, and feel safe and secure. Staff help parents learn new ways to communicate with their children and overcome difficulties. In-classroom, play therapy with a reflective focus is provided for children with emotional and behavioral difficulties.
More than 94% of children who have attended the ELC over the past 10 years have shown significant improvement in their cognitive, social and emotional development.
Research shows that children who have access to a high-quality early learning program are:
- More successful in school, and less likely to repeat grades
- More likely to graduate high school and attend college, and earn more as adults
- Less likely to suffer poor health, or to need child welfare services
- Less likely to become teen parents, or to be involved with the criminal justice system
Wellspring Baby Boutique operates as a retail store where parents who are experiencing the effects of homelessness can shop for essential items free of charge. Each year, we serve thousands of children and families by providing basic necessities that all parents and children need to remain safe and healthy, and feel confident and secure.
Parents in homeless families often cannot provide for even the most basic items for their children such as a clean diapers, warm clothes, or car seats. As a result, the health and safety of infants and children are at risk. The Baby Boutique responds to this critical need by providing clothing, shoes, diapers, blankets, underclothes, books, learning toys, car seats, strollers and other essential items for babies and children.
The Baby Boutique is unique in that the experience resembles a retail store where parents can shop for free, rather than simply being given a bag of donated items. This approach creates a more respectful and empowering experience because it allows parents to make selections based on their own preferences and their children’s individual needs.
The Baby Boutique relies on donations of new and gently used items to support several thousand children and families who rely on the store each year. We invite you to learn more in our Get Involved section.
For all members of our community, a safe and stable home is a basic need for individuals, children, and families to reach and live their full potential. Wellspring Housing Services help homeless families and those at risk of eviction to secure or maintain housing. Our team of Housing Specialists works directly with adults and families to meet them where they are in life, and help them take the next step forward.
We move people quickly out of homelessness into stable housing and promote housing retention, assisting families to locate and maintain housing, providing temporary shelter and limited financial assistance as needed.
To retain housing, we help clients navigate common questions around debt, budgeting, banking information, and other financial assistance resources for medical bills, child care and critical needs. We provide education about money management, and help families establish good credit and budget for recurrent and unusual expenses. Our team also provides referrals for support services for issues that can affect housing stability including chemical dependency, mental health, domestic violence, and medical and dental care.
Our Housing Specialists stay connected to the individuals and families we serve, and follow-up with families at intervals to help ensure long-term housing stability.
Impoverished and/or homeless parents who are focused on meeting basic needs often have a limited ability to understand, nurture, and support their children’s development, undermining both the development of the children and the stability of the family. Our Parent-Child Services program provides therapeutic services that foster positive attachments between caregivers and their children to improve parenting skills.
Parents who feel successful and strong in their parenting role are better equipped to meet the developmental and emotional needs of their children. As a result, children are more likely to reach developmental milestones and be prepared to succeed in school.
In addition, adults who have developed parenting skills are better able to focus their energy on addressing other significant challenges in their lives, such as housing instability, unemployment or substance abuse.
Domestic Violence Intervention
At the heart of our Domestic Violence Intervention Program (“DVIP”) is the idea that everyone in a family deserves to be safe and respected. Our domestic violence programs serve to break the cycle of violence in families by teaching partners and parents how to achieve healthy, stable relationships.
Domestic violence is not a result of stress or unhappiness. It is a learned behavior of control that can be changed with support. Our Washington State certified DVIP program helps clients who have acted abusively more loving partners and parents. It helps end the cycle of violence in families, so children and partners can feel safe and secure and not repeat violent behaviors later in life.
We hold people who perpetrate accountable and solely responsible for their abusive behavior and for ending that behavior. Intervention curriculum is based on the nationally recognized Duluth and EMERGE curriculums. While State law requries a minimum of twelve months to complete a domestic violence intervention program, our clients are often in the program for a longer period of time as they work to achieve our program objectives, meet personal goals, and demonstrate behavioral change. Clients having contact with children, their own or a partner’s, are also required to attend “DV Dads.” DV Dads is a twice monthly group focused on helping fathers to acknowledge the impact of their abuse on children by providing tools for them to gain respectful, non-violent parenting skills.
Wellspring’s victim liaison therapist is in contact with all victims, if the victim wishes, to help ensure safety planning, provide linkage to support services and share and receive DVIP information.