Ruth’s Cottage is a domestic violence prevention program which includes the provision of a 12 bed emergency shelter for women and children. Residents are allowed to stay
an initial four to six weeks and shelter staff work with them to make goals and plans for a safe life post shelter. While at the shelter, all basic needs of the women and children are met while their emotional and education needs are also addressed through referral to area agencies and support groups.
Men who contact the shelter in an emergency DV crisis are also given shelter utilizing hotels. Men who are victims receive the same services as women.
The program also provides a 24/7 crisis line manned by shelter advocates who assist by providing shelter arrangements, immediate safety planning, referrals, and/or linkage to the agency’s legal advocates.
Ruth’s Cottage employs two bi-lingual legal advocates who provide assistance with application for temporary protection orders, do lethality assessments and develop safety plans for those not entering shelter. Ruth’s Cottage staff educates and provides community awareness on topics related to family violence including teen dating violence, legal advocacy and DV 101.
The Patticake House
The Patticake House joined the Ruth's Cottage domestic violence program in 2005 to make the Tifton Judicial Circuit Shelter, Inc. a dual agency, with two state certified program. The Patticake House is a Child Advocacy Centers of Georgia full affiliate child advocacy center which provides forensic interviews for children who have been suspected of having been severely physically abused, sexually abused and/or witness to severe family violence. The children served with a forensic interview are only referred for service by one or more of the following: law enforcement, Department of Family and Children’s Services and/or District Attorney’s Office. Children cannot be referred for an interview by a family member or a concerned citizen. Those who feel they know a child that has been abused or they strongly suspect abuse should call the state child abuse hotline and/or call 911.
The forensic interview serves to investigate and learn from the child what actions occurred and all possible details regarding the possible perpetrator. The recorded interview becomes evidence possibly used by the Distric Attorney's Office for prosecution of the offender. Only the District Atttorney and The Patticake House have access to the interview and it is held in strictest confidence. Only the Superior Court Judge can order for anyone else to view the recorded interview.
The non-offending caregiver brings the child to The Patticake House for the interview appointment and while the child is being interviewed, the non-offending caregiver is also interviewed and receives supportive services. These include assistance with crime victim compensation application and followup, referral for mental health or social services and support with possible food and clothing needs.
Post interview, the family support continues with follow up phone calls and assistance up to the time of the possible trial and court appearance. Each December those who were served by The Patticake House are contacted for possible inclusion in the Suitcases for Kids Christmas Project as an additional service to the family.