Women & Children First is known for providing emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. The program at WCF goes beyond providing physical
shelter and taking care of immediate physical needs - we also work to care for the emotional needs that the guests carry with them. That is where LaKese,
WCF's new Counseling Advocate, comes in.
LaKese has actually been a part of the WCF family for years now. She has worked as a Shelter Advocate and Case Manager, but after recently graduating with her Provisional License of a Masters in Social Work, she has moved into a new role as the Counseling Advocate. She provides WCF with a full-time, licensed counselor on staff, opening up so many opportunities to provide for the emotional and psychological needs of the guests. LaKese provides crisis intervention and mental health screenings for each guest as they are admitted to the shelter. She is able to refer guests who need significant psychiatric intervention or medication management to partnering agencies. She will provided counseling sessions to individuals, families, and even children while they are in the shelter. The counseling services do not have to stop when that guests graduate or transition out of the shelter, allowing them to have uninterrupted mental health services as they work through their situation. WCF can also now provide counseling to victims of domestic violence who are not at the shelter, giving the organization another avenue to reach victims in our community.
LaKese's is also working to improve the mental health network that guests have access to when they leave the shelter. She is working to create partnership and deepen current relationships so that victims of domestic violence, and their families, have access to the mental health support that they need in order to heal. She will assist in facilitating Domestic Violence Support at WCF as well as at other community partner locations, and is working on starting more groups for varying needs that victims of domestic violence and their families have.