Safe From the Start

UPDATE: State of Illinois Funding for Safe From the Start was cut in 2015. CAC has launched a $125,000 campaign to preserve this program through June 2018. Read more here. 

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Donate: You can support Safe From the Start financially by making a donation today. Donate now.

Contact elected officials: Click here for a letter/email you can download and customize to send to your elected officials in the State of Illinois. If you do not know your elected officials, click here

About Safe From the Start

Today's children are exposed to myriad types of violence including catastrophic, school, community, domestic violence, violence in the media, physical and sexual abuse, neglect and/or maltreatment. The short and long term affects of violence are often dependent on the type, the length of exposure and the age in which the child witnessed violence. Whether the violence is seen, heard or experienced, it impacts the health and sense of well-being of children and their families.

2001 Funding

In 2001 CAC received funding from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority (IVPA) to launch Safe from the Start, an early intervention program designed to prevent exposure to violence in children age 0-5, and reduce the impact for those children who have already been exposed. According to the IVPA, “Safe From the Start utilizes the principles of early intervention, mutual collaboration, cross training, and research-based planning to: provide developmentally and culturally appropriate direct services to children ages 0-5, and families exposed to violence; increase public awareness regarding children exposed to violence; and demonstrate a collaborative community based approach to supporting families through collaboration and coalition building with other entities that interact with families.”


Today, the CAC, as the lead agency for a coalition of more than 25 agencies and organizations, has implemented this program that currently serves residents in the northwest suburban area of Cook County. Safe from the start is staffed by six Masters level therapists, including an art therapist, all of whom have participated in the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) 40-hour training program. A wide variety of programs are offered through the SFTS including:

  • Case management
  • Short and long-term parent/child therapy
  • Play therapy / art therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Art therapy group for survivors of domestic violence
  • Parent education groups and seminars
  • Presentations for professionals in the field
  • Confidential consultation for professionals

CAC’s Safe from the Start services, provided in English and Spanish, are free of charge. Services are also provided in a child’s natural setting (home, preschool, community center) when appropriate. For more information about or to book a presentation contact:

Carrie Estrada, LCSW
Program Coordinator
Safe from the Start
1535 Burgundy Parkway
Streamwood, IL 60107
Phone: 630-540-0549