Our mission is to foster parent-child relationships in a safe and supportive environment. Our Parent Education program and SAFE Services program are designed to ensure the safety and well-being of children and to help families in conflict or crisis improve their quality of life.
Our goals are to provide a nurturing environment in which parents learn better parenting skills and to provide a safe, secure place for supervised parenting time visits and supervised exchanges of children between their parents.
Our services exist as they do today because of Annie and her children, Levi and Emma, or rather, because of the circumstances that took their lives. Though we began as The St. Vrain Valley Parenting Center, founded as an umbrella of Parenting Place in Boulder in 1998, to offer parent support and education to promote the healthy development of children, we became much more after obtaining our 501(c)(3) in October of 1999. On January 26, 2000, Annie, along with five-year-old Levi and fifteen-month-old Emma were killed by her ex-husband when she dropped the children off for a visit with their father. This tragedy prompted community representatives from our agency, the 20th Judicial District Court, Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley, Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, the Longmont Police Department, the YMCA, and private psychologists and attorneys to come together as a task force to address the critical issue of how escalating violence between separated and divorced parents was affecting the children in those families.
Since 2001, our Parent Education and SAFE Services Programs have emphasized both the prevention and intervention of the trauma and harm children experience due to domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness, and conflict in divorce. We are the only non-profit agency in Boulder County offering SAFE Services. Though we were not there for Annie, Levi, and Emma, we have been here providing prevention and intervention for hundreds of mothers and fathers taking our education classes and for the families who have participated in thousands of supervised exchanges and supervised parenting time visits.
Our SAFE Services Program addresses two major issues. Monitored exchanges we deal with the issues associated with conflict between parents. Exchanges consist of parents dropping off and picking up children with a 15 minute interval between the exchanges so there is no meeting between the two adults. The opportunity provided by exchanges is to eliminate triggers between the two parents that could have unhappy, unsafe, and harmful impact on the child. Supervised parenting time addresses the issue of families in crisis where parenting is an issue. In providing this service, our staff objectively observes and records the interactions between non-custodial parents and their children for periods of one to two hours during visits at our location in Longmont. The opportunity we provide with this service is the elimination of re-victimization of the child by the parent.
Through our Parent Support groups we support and educate parents in order to intervene in unhealthy parent behaviors and encourage parenting skills that will promote healthy child -parent relationships within an artificial parenting environment. Our current Boot Camp for New Dads classes provide new parents with help in bonding with their baby, understanding the first six months of child development, and supporting each other as they navigate their transformation into parents. Parents Involved in Education, through a collaboration of nonprofits, seeks to support the Latino community by providing education and support sessions to parents with an emphasis on parents becoming involved in their children's education.
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) has recognized the importance of Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Programs. OVW states that these programs, among other things, protect children from the trauma of witnessing domestic violence or experiencing abduction, injury, or death during parent and child visitation and exchanges and protect parents or caretakers who are victims of violence.
Children First of the Rockies provides continuing support for programs that enlighten and teach this generation for coming generations about parenting. One amazing class is Boot Camp for New Dads...a program offered in partnership with a Boulder Community Hospital.
In late summer 2013, one class participant at the urging of his expectant wife and friend, Barney, the Boot Camp for New Dads class facilitator, took the class BEFORE the birth of his first child.
During a particularly nasty rainstorm that started the evening before September 10, his wife's water broke necessitating a hasty trip to a local hospital where she delivered their healthy baby boy. The hospital suggested an immediate release of the new mother and baby son due to the immediate storm because both were considered in stable condition.
The new father felt uneasy in his "gut" about their release and instead enlisted his newly taught "gate teaching" skills through the Boot Camp for New Dads insisted both his wife and child remain in the hospital overnight. As it turned out, following his instinct (or intuition) was spot on! The resulting storm crippled Boulder City and County with torrential rainfall totals exceeding 20 inches in parts of the County, along with numerous flash floods, property destruction, and loss of life. Had the new father not insisted on the hospital stay, all three would have become stranded or worse, unable to make it to their home in the storm that would become documented for the history books. At the hospital while all three waited the storm out, the new parents named their baby boy- Noah.