Kids Kottage Trauma Sensory Upgrade

The Cause

Kids Kottage is Edmonton’s only 24-hour crisis nursery. Our mission is to keep Edmonton area kids safe, offering them shelter when home is in crisis. Whether the danger comes from homelessness, the threat of family violence, a parent’s mental illness, or issues arising from poverty including food insecurity, we provide up to 72 hours of safe, developmentally-appropriate childcare free of charge for the child, while supporting the family in addressing whatever situation led to that crisis. After children leave our care, we maintain contact with the family, ensuring home remains safe and parents have a support network to prevent crisis from arising again. Many of the children who come to stay at Kids Kottage have experiences adverse trauma. For example Of the 1,200 children we helped last year:
o 79.71% of those children had witnessed family violence.
o 14.58% of them had experienced physical abuse in their lives.
o 22.18% of them had experienced emotional abuse.
o 5.7% of them had experienced sexual abuse.
o 100% of their parents had been abused or exposed to family violence in their childhoods.
All forms of abuse are trauma that impact brain development.

One way to help these children when they are in our care is to have a Trauma sensitive sensory room in our crisis nursery. We need to turn one of the play areas of the crisis nursery into this Trauma Sensitive Sensory Room. It would be used as an intervention that would encourage a child to tell his or her story, and construct a personal narrative of the traumatic experience, and in due course the child will be able to interact more positively and fittingly, providing them with coping skills and strategies which they will use during stressful situations.

In order to incorporate this Trauma Sensitive Sensory treatment, staff will require specific training to properly to incorporate the sensory treatment.

In making our crisis nursery more trauma informed we are also needing to remove the "Bear Pit" which has become a health hazard as well as it no longer meets the Health Standards. We must replace so our vision is to replace it with a tree structure and netting to hold the stuffed animals given to each child upon arriving at the Kottage. This structure will also have incorporate shelves for children's books and printed parent resources.

Who Will it Benefit?

Kids Kottage cares for over 1,200 children annually in the 24-hour crisis Kottage for up to 72 hours free of charge. This special treatment plan and sensory space in the Kottage will help each individual child to be able to develop the child's self-awareness and then slowly move into specific strategies for self-regulation, self-care and self-healing. Equipping the children will also help the over 700 parents/caregivers of these children, in their care and nurturing of these children as we share with them the strategies we are imparting to the children.