All 26 Seattle Parks and Recreation community centers and eight indoor pools (including Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool) plus three teen life centers are now part of the Safe Place network in King County, where teens can ask for help when in crisis.
Community center doors now bear the distinctive yellow decal that signals to young people that they can find help and safety inside. Facility staff have been trained in the protocol to follow when a young person asks for help: offer the young person a safe and quiet place to wait and rest, and call the Safe Place hotline to notify the Safe Place coordinator of the situation. Within 45 minutes, a Safe Place coordinator will arrive to assess the teen’s needs, helping them either return home or go to a youth shelter, as appropriate.
The King County Safe Place network is run in partnership with YouthCare in Seattle, Friends of Youth on the Eastside, and Auburn Youth Resources in South King County. Each agency has a Safe Place coordinator on staff, and has emergency shelter beds available to teens in crisis. This partnership ensures that no matter where a young person is, help is always close at hand.
The goal of the program is to prevent youth homelessness by preventing a young person from spending their first night on the streets, and to help youth who have been on the run for some time to reconnect with family and other services.
Seattle Parks and Recreation’s community centers join a network of agencies and organizations providing more than 1,800 Safe Place sites throughout the county, including King County Metro Transit, King County libraries, YMCA facilities, United Way of King County, and the City of Snoqualmie. Launched in 2011, the program has expanded in 2013 thanks to support from the United Way of King County.
King County Safe Place is part of a national network of more than 20,000 partnering businesses and community locations that display the yellow diamond Safe Place sign.