Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Safe Space NYC, Inc.

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

April 2015

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

November 2011–December 2013

Although domestic violence can involve any member of the family, children are especially susceptible to internalizing trauma after witnessing these events.

To address this issue, Safe Space NYC, Inc., (Safe Space) created the program Seen & Heard to provide mental health counseling and family support services to children up to five years old and their families who suffer from trauma and domestic violence.

Located in Far Rockaway and Jamaica, Queens, the program has been in operation since 2006 and has relied on a combination of discretionary funding from New York City Council’s Children Under Five Mental Health Initiative and private foundation support. However, continued government financial support was in jeopardy given the economic climate at the time. As a result, NYHealth awarded Safe Space a grant in 2011 to transition Seen & Heard into a sustainable, billable model by incorporating the program into its existing mental health clinic structure.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Secured approval from New York State Office of Mental Health to expand its Article 31 clinic license to serve children aged five years old and younger at all of its three mental health clinics;
  • Shifted from private and public support to a primarily billable model;
  • Provided Seen & Heard services to 58 children and caregivers in 2012. Among the participants, 74% of children reduced their traumatic symptoms and 80% of caregivers noted increased confidence in their ability to help their children;
  • Billed 63% of Seen & Heard’s services through Medicaid, managed care plans, or private insurance; and
  • Increased by 33% the number of children served by the program from the previous 18-month period because of the shift to a billable model.