Last week was National Safe Place Week, bringing awareness to the importance of helping youth facing tough times. But supporting kids in crisis isn’t just a one-week thingit’s something we need to do all the time.

Safe Places are spots in our communities where kids can go if they need help. In Pima County, there are 36 of these Safe Places, plus every school and bus are considered a Safe Place.

According to Jamie Snyder, CEO of Our Family Services, about 100 kids get help from these Safe Places every year. Any child from the ages of 12 to 17 can go to one of these places and ask for help.

Snyder explained, “For a child experiencing a crisis and not knowing where to turn, a Safe Place is a good starting point. They know if they’re in a bad situationmaybe something happened with their friends or life has gotten out of controlthey can call us, and we’ll help them. Our staff is trained to assist youth using the best practices.”

Snyder mentioned how shes seen an increase in children coming to these Safe Places in recent years.

The biggest impact that weve seen in the community is COVID, and because COVID created financial strain for families, disruption to work, and disruption to school, we really saw that stress impact youth, and we saw an influx of kids to our shelters as a result of that.

Each Safe Place has a sign out front, so kids can easily find them. You can see these signs at places like fire departments, schools, most nonprofits, and QuikTrips. On average, kids stay at these places for about 21 days, but some stay up to a year.

For anyone needing help or knowing someone who does, more information is available on their website.