Kids’ Place, a child friendly, supervised waiting room, provides a safe haven for children while their parents attend to their business with the courts. All 9 sites serve children 2.5 – 13 years old, with three locations (Long Beach, Mosk and Antelope Valley) also serving infants and toddlers.
Families and people in crisis are in Los Angeles County courtrooms every day with their small children in tow. Babies and toddlers are left unattended in hallways while their parents are in courtrooms. Young children are sent to restrooms unsupervised. Children see their parents upset and emotional about adult conflicts. They sometimes see parents arrested and taken into custody. They hear adults talking about family violence, restraining orders, custody disputes, or about violent or criminal behavior of family members. Often, they relive the anxiety and fear that they have already experienced at this young age.
Kids’ Place offers free childcare services so children can have fun at court instead of experiencing distress or trauma. Each child leaves with a new book of their own on their first visit!
Many of the families who bring their children to court are having difficulty coping with variety of issues in their lives. In addition to courthouse childcare, Kids’ Place assists them with information and referrals to community services such as childcare, medical care, shelter, or legal aid.
Teren came to the superior court with his Mom for a restraining order because of domestic violence. His Mom’s boyfriend argued with his Mom a lot, sometimes pushing and hitting. He could hear them fighting while he hid under the bed covers. At Kids’ Place he felt scared at first, but soon he settled down and got comfortable. He worried about what would happen- would his step-dad go to jail, would they live together again- but for now he was in a fun place where he could relax and just be a kid for a few hours. He had so much fun playing with the other kids that he did not want to leave when his Mom came to pick him up.