SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Lisa Farmer with Harmony House talks with KOLR10’s Chad Mira about the challenges women with children have, in getting out of an abusive situation.
Chad: “We’ve heard a couple people’s stories over the past couple weeks. Women struggling to leave abusive relationships. It’s hard to go out on your own if you don’t have a job, if you don’t have a home to go to. What are some of the added struggles if you have children as well?”
Lisa: “There are many more. First and foremost, it’s difficult for many reasons for women to leave their home. Even though there’s abuse it is still there home. That is compounded when there are children in their home. They’re taking their children away from their familiar surroundings even though it’s not a good situation in many ways, it’s still the childrens home. So I think that emotional break is even tougher at times. Taking them out of their school is also difficult. In Springfield we’re very fortunate that children can continue to go to their home school if they come to Harmony House. Increased financial stresses, there’s medical records, just multiply it by 2 or 3 children. It’s that much more difficult.”
Chad: “When a woman comes through your doors are they terrified about the potential of losing their children to foster care?”
Lisa: Sometimes typically once they arrive at shelter typically they’re in less jeopardy of losing their kids because they’ve removed them from the abusive situation. What we see more often is women who have lost their kids out of their home. One of the things we frequently do is work with the women to get their children back. We’ve had women come into shelter as a single woman with no children and we’ve made accommodations for the children later to come into shelter and join their mother.”
Chad: “What are some of the things you offer women and their children at Harmony House?”
Lisa: “Shelter, 3 meals a day, hygiene items, basic clothing. A lot of times they come with little to nothing. We have child care available so as the women are going to school or searching for jobs or going to legal proceedings, they’re able to leave their children in our child care department. Every woman who comes into shelter is assigned a case manager to make sure she is accessing the services she needs to move into independent living. Harmony house provides all of the necessary services with the exception of counseling. We refer to the victim center for counseling.