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House of Ruth - Mom & Daughter

House of Ruth helps more than 1,000 women and children annually to achieve greater safety, stability and self-sufficiency.

House of Ruth

CFC Number: 

Founded in 1976 as America's first women's shelter, House of Ruth's mission is to help women, children and families in greatest need and with very limited resources build safe, stable lives and achieve their highest potential. At eleven residential locations, a developmental day care facility, and a free domestic violence counseling center, we serve more than 1,000 women and children every year.

We enfold women in an environment that is safe, structured and predictable and where they receive highly responsive, caring and respectful attention from the staff. The women and children participate in a wide variety of services and supports to stabilize the issues that led to homelessness and abuse and acquire the skills for safer, more self-sufficient lives. 

Our skilled and compassionate staff works hard from the moment a family or woman arrives to build a relationship with each individual family member. Early days are spent getting the woman or family connected with critical financial resources, such as food stamps and crime victims' compensation.

Delivering these and other tangible resources (like food and clothing) helps the staff bond with the women and families. Our assistance is practical and hands-on. We'll sit with a woman and help her fill out the forms necessary to apply for public benefits and go with her to court appointments concerning child custody and other legal matters. By being present for the women and children, we establish our credibility with them and they begin to trust us.

Most of the women we serve are survivors of neglect and abuse in childhood, and while they try, they have no positive role models to help them forge healthy bonds with their own children. So our staff patiently teaches each mother how to be a good parent, and what healthy child development looks like and consists of.

The space where we deliver housing and services is important. It is clean, safe, warm and nurturing. The people that we place in the paths of the women and children we serve are also vital to success. Our Program Coordinators, Case Managers and Life Skills Trainers are the heart of House of Ruth's residential programs. They have the compassion, skills and know-how to build strong partnerships with the women and children, relationships that help the women and children heal and grow. Similarly, the teachers and case managers at Kidspace and the therapists at the Domestic Violence Support Center are highly skilled and trained, and dedicated to the well-being of the women and children. 

Homeless children from six weeks to five years old receive developmental interventions and their parents receive social services addressing the challenges in their lives at Kidspace, our child and family development center. All of the children entering Kidspace have delays across all of the developmental domains; two-thirds achieve their developmental targets after one year of services. The early childhood curriculum is enriched with speech and language, play and occupational therapy.

At the Domestic Violence Support Center, located in downtown DC, a team of skilled counselors provides psychotherapy to survivors of domestic violence as well as case management services to help them address the practical challenges in their lives, like housing and employment.