Simplified: Children's Inn is preparing to move into a brand new facility in east-central Sioux Falls, and with the new building comes a new name. It's all driven by a goal to increase capacity to help all victims of domestic violence.
Why it matters
- Children's Inn is the only domestic violence shelter in the city – and the only shelter available in the four-county area, as well.
- The shelter has been operating over capacity since 2016, said Program Director Amy Carter. There are 40 beds available, but often the shelter sees between 50 and 60 people each night. The new facility will more than double current bed capacity.
- The new facility also comes with a rebrand. The new name for the shelter will be the "Children's Home Shelter for Family Safety."
"It's telling people what they're going to get from us: safety," Carter said.
Tell me more about the new building
Construction on the building is near completion, and the goal is to have all finishing touches, furniture and art in place for a move-in date of Nov. 15, Carter said.
- It's located adjacent to the Empower Campus between Eighth Street and Tenth Street at 113 N. St. Paul Ave.
The design of the new building will also be more conducive to ensuring visitors can maintain privacy and find safety in a calm environment, Carter said.
- The check-in will be in a more separated, private area than the current facility, where people check-in in a busy area with lots of people walking by.
- There will be more common areas, so the people staying in the shelter can have more options to find a quiet (or, at least, semi-quiet) space outside of their room.
- The artwork was specifically selected to create a tranquil space, and it's been curated from some local artists to embody the local culture, Carter said.
The biggest change, though, is just having more space.
- The new building will be 48,000 square feet, compared to the XX-square-foot building Childrens Inn currently operates out of on Western Avenue.
- There will be 96 beds, compared to the existing 40.
- There will also be enough space to house male victims of domestic violence on-site. At the current location, men have to be put up in a hotel because the shelter is out of space.
"Moving from a 40 bed shelter to a 96 bed shelter means we can serve thousands more people who need help during some of the darkest times of their lives," Children's Home Society CEO Michelle Lavallee said.
And it won't just be the shelter visitors who have a better experience in the new building.
"Just spreading out what we're doing is going to make a huge difference for the staff," Carter said, adding that the current overcrowding and noise can be draining and impact the mental health of shelter employees.
Tell me more about the new name
Since 1998 when the shelter first merged with Children's Home Society, there has been confusion about the name, Carter said.
- People think because it has "children" in the name, services are only for children or women who have children, she said. That's not true. The shelter serves all victims of domestic violence.
The new name also clarifies the relationship between the shelter and Children's Home Society.
And it plainly states that it's providing safety for all, whether it's shelter services, counseling services or crisis intervention services.
What happens next?
The rebrand will coincide with the move into the new building, set for Nov. 15.
Once in the new space, the staff will be able to take a breath and focus on doing what they do best, helping domestic violence victims, Carter said.
"We're just going to do what we know how to do," she added. "And we know how to provide safety, comfort and support to victims of domestic violence and child abuse."