Safe Haven Family Shelter
1234 Third Avenue South
Nashville TN 37210
Mission Statement

Lead our community's efforts to house, support, empower and advocate for families experiencing homelessness.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Joyce K. Lavery
Board Chair Mr John Nefflen
Board Chair Company Affiliation Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1984
Former Names
St. Patrick's Shelter
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $1,828,396.00
Projected Annual Revenue $1,828,396.00 (2017)

Lead our community's efforts to house, support, empower and advocate for families experiencing homelessness.


Background Safe Haven Family Shelter has served the Middle Tennessee area for 33 years. Safe Haven was originally founded in St. Patrick's Church, known as St. Patrick's Shelter. The ever-growing need to serve homeless families took the founders in the direction of building the organization out into a new facility that could house 5 families. In October 2003, Safe Haven Family Shelter merged with Nashville Family Shelter to form the Nashville Safe Haven Family Shelter. This merger created an organization with over 40 years of combined community service and strengthened the organization’s ability to better serve homeless families by expanding resources and combining programs. Safe Haven can now house over 35 families at a time between the shelter facility, four transitional homes (scattered site) and using Rapid Rehousing and Transition in Place. Safe Haven continues to be the only shelter to permanent housing program of its kind in Middle Tennessee that accepts single and two parent homeless families. Under the Shelter Program, residents receive: intensive case management from licensed social workers, counseling and therapy, job readiness/training, financial coaching, and other services through a voluntary services model and using progressive engagement. Our programs employ evidence-based practices and highly trained staff. We also have a robust children's and youth program that offers high quality academic tutoring, innovative programs such as A Novel Idea, two Bright Spaces, and our summer program SEEDS. Using a housing first model and philosophy, we know that families can only become stable while in their own home and services are wrapped around them as we journey with each family to build community. Safe Haven also plays a leadership role in the community as we advocate for collaborative approaches toward reducing and ending family homelessness. 
1. In 2016 we served 83 families; 66% of the families served could not have been served elsewhere; over 84% depart our program with employment and housing. 
 2. Our annual fundraising events, Dancing for Safe Haven and Hike for the Homeless, continue their financial and attendance records and provide ways to connect the community with our mission.
3. Safe Haven Executive Director was named one of the Most Admired CEOs by the Nashville Business Journal.
Our top goals for 2017:
1) Provide leadership and expertise on family homelessness.
2) Partner with the Metro Homeless Commission, MDHA, and other community partners to implement the Coordinated Entry and Assessment model.
3) Continue to expand our housing partnerships with landlords and property owners that will expedite locating permanent, sustainable, and adequate housing for client families.
4)  Launch our social enterprise that focuses on workforce development. 
1. Continuous operational funding to help sustain continuously growing needs.
2. Landlords and property owners who are willing and able to provide affordable, safe, and permanent housing to the families we serve.
3. More employers willing to work with Safe Haven and our workforce development program by providing entry level jobs to our adults with the possibility for advancement through training and support.
4. Skilled volunteers to work with children experiencing homelessness,  and hospitality volunteers to provide meals and to answer phones and the door during peak business hours.
5. In-kind donations of paper goods (diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.), new sheets, towels, pillows, and comforters (twin and double size) are always needed. 
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Safe Haven also accepts online donations:, provides a list of volunteer opportunities:,  and accepts in-kind donations. For volunteer opportunities, please contact Emily Rattle at  (615) 256-8195,, or visit our website for  more information.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Housing, Shelter / Homeless Shelters
Secondary Organization Category Housing, Shelter / Housing Support
Tertiary Organization Category Human Services / Homeless Services/Centers
Areas of Service
Areas Served
TN - Cheatham
TN - Davidson
TN - Montgomery
TN - Robertson
TN - Rutherford
TN - Sumner
TN - Williamson
TN - Wilson
Safe Haven is the only shelter-to-permanent housing program of its kind in Middle Tennessee that accepts homeless families with children of all compositions and provides shelter, transitional housing, transition-in-place, rapid re-housing, and permanent housing. The organization serves Davidson County and other surrounding counties.
Board Chair Statement Safe Haven Family Shelter is a unique organization because it takes a programmatic approach in serving the homeless family population. The families are hard working individuals that deserve a second chance due to circumstances, many times, that are beyond their control. I believe in the mission of the organization, and what it does for the Middle Tennessee community. They are able to restore dignity to parents, while creating a brighter future for the children of the family. When I assumed the role of Board President, there were three key items that I wanted to focus on to improve upon the efficiency and operation of the organization: stabilization of funding, board involvement/support, and increased community awareness about the benefits of providing preventative education. In order to address these challenges, I have met with staff and board members to create a strategic plan which also aids in cohesion between the groups. I have participated in and will host a fundraiser later this year, in hopes to reach as many individuals as possible. The main challenge is that although Safe Haven has served our community for over 33 years, many people are unaware of the valuable service that it provides for society. It is my duty as Board chair to bridge the gap and educate as many as possible on the importance of Safe Haven. I am pleased to represent the organization, and am very optimistic about years to come.
CEO Statement
Safe Haven Family Shelter continues its tradition of compassionate care and excellence as we keep abreast of environmental changes and new research about family homelessness. 
We continue to focus on staff development and embrace best and promising practices and innovative solutions that work to minimize homeless episodes for our clients. We will continue to develop community relationships with landlords willing to provide affordable housing for our families so that when they leave our programs they will have a permanent opportunity to remain financially stable. My vision for Safe Haven remains to increase our capacity to serve more families, increase the scope of services we provide for our families in transition, and institute a professional environment that also provides a unique culture of community and compassionate care. A researcher at the top research institute, The Instititute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness recently claimed, "Safe Haven is not just a shelter, but a home". We our proud of our record of service, success, results, and compassionate care. Additionally, we have completed our capital campaign to improve and expand our facilities and services. We will continue to offer life changing opportunities that empower homeless families with children to overcome obstacles, reach their dreams, and sustain a stable community life.

The Shelter Program provides intensive case management, comprehensive services to include counseling/therapy (such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Play Therapy, and Narrative Therapy), SHINE3 (Safe Haven Inspiring Nutritious Eating, Exercise & Emotional Well-Being), workforce development services through our partnership with RBI Enterprises, financial education, educational services for children such as advocacy, after-school programs, summer camps and programs, tutoring onsite and at designated schools, and onsite clubs (reading and science). Safe Haven can accommodate single and two-parent families with children up to 18 years of age. Parents must be drug and alcohol free, work toward employment upon entry, engage in financial planning around debt, savings, budgeting and goal-setting. Our evidence-based program models use trauma-informed care, critical time intervention, and motivational interviewing to ensure we are using our resources well to assist families experiencing homelessness return to stability. Our current typical duration of stay for a family is 45-90 days.

Budget 423830
Population Served , ,
Short Term Success The success of the Shelter Program is evaluated by a family completing all projected goals and returning into the community with stable employment and secured housing. The program strives to stop the cycle of chronic homelessness before it begins by keeping families together to bond  through the traumatic experience. Families are not forced to separate during a difficult time in their lives, and are able to address dysfunctional behavior that led them to the current situation.
Program Success Monitored By The success of the program is evaluated by a post-placement tracking survey that gauges the impact of the services offered, and if the family is continuing to achieve sustainability in independent living by remaining employed and providing a home address. The surveys are very helpful in continuing to enhance and expand current programs and procedures.
Examples of Program Success

Since the completion of the renovation and expansion campaign in 2013, Safe Haven began a "Grow and Sustain" model to ensure that the organization could sustain its growth. Through a partnership with The Siemer Institute for Family Stability and United Way, Safe Haven has been able to increase support for families in the areas of prevention, depth of service and long-term case management if necessary. In addition to meeting more of the demand for services, Safe Haven has continued to be on the forefront of addressing family homelessness in our community. The statistics below indicate the families served in 2014, and Safe Haven is on track to serve 75-100 families in 2015.

We served 53 households
Averaged 78 people in program per night
$415.25 average increase in income
164 people with mainstream benefits
50 employed adults/49 of the families have some sort of income
2 enrolled in GED classes, 4 attending college
30 single mom families
8 single dad families
14 couple families
1 multi-generational family
66% of the families served could not have been served by another program (either single father, couple or families with teenage boys)
36% exited into permanent housing
11% exited to transitional housing
17 % still in shelter at time of report
Our employment specialist that currently teaches the job readiness courses to the families is a former client. She is a veteran, an entrepreneur, author and hosts women's empowerment workshops. She is a well-educated, accomplished individual that completed our program and is a testament to our mission. She also received the Tennessee Titans Community Quarterback Award in 2012 for her efforts in giving back to our organization.  
Description Transitional Living and Transition-in-Place are designed to serve homeless families that move from the Shelter Program, but require longer term assistance. Families are able to live in scattered site independent transitional homes and receive extended case management and wrap-around services, work toward long-term financial and family goals while contributing to rent and savings. The average stay for a family is 3 months to 1 year and is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. With the addition of Transition-in-Place, families are provided with leased housing with the intention of remaining in that same housing independently. Our goal is to provide stability and to minimize the trauma of frequent moves. Some families with multiple barriers such as lack of education or work history, more than three children, lack of transportation, and other co-occuring situations require more time to stabilize. 
Budget 89170
Population Served , ,
As our community recognizes the value of rapid rehousing as a proven strategy to reduce family homelessness, our increased funding for rapid rehousing we are able to move families in the shelter and/or transitional housing to their own housing, usually rental, with funds to offset housing expenses for up to nine months (evaluated on an individual basis). This model provides greater stability for families, allows Safe Haven to serve more families in a more cost efficient manner, and is proven to be highly effective best practice.
Budget $200,000
Population Served , ,
CEO Comments Now in its 33rd year, Safe Haven Family Shelter has experienced increased growth and enhancements to our Shelter Program culminating in our recent expansion and renovation of our shelter facility. We strive to stop the cycle of chronic homelessness before it begins by providing the most effective and efficient services for families to achieve long-term sustainability in independent living. Community partnerships, education, volunteerism, and donations have all play a vital role in our organization's success. It is imperative that we participate with the community in reducing family homelessness, not just managing it. The Rapid Rehousing and Transition-in- Place Programs are becoming models for assisting more families to reach and sustain independent living with minimal disruption of family living and stability. We believe that by effectively working with businesses, government agencies, faith based organizations, community based organizations, and individuals we can substantially reduce homelessness in our community and better serve those families that have become homeless.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr John Nefflen
Company Affiliation Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP
Term Jan 2017 to Dec 2020
Board Members
Mr. Kyle Allen VACOVoting
Mr. Jonathan Barnes Staffing as a MissionVoting
Ms. Maria Benedetti HCAVoting
Mrs. Stephanie Bonner Bank of AmericaVoting
Mr. Jeff Bradford The Bradford GroupVoting
Mr. Edmundo Cepeda AsurionVoting
Mr. Joe Christopher Relode, LLCVoting
Mr. Gary Cooper SkanskaVoting
Mrs. Gari Cowan CAT FinancialVoting
Ms. Debbie Flack Avenue BankVoting
Ms. Candi Flowers ServiceSourceVoting
Mr. Dustin Hillis Southwestern ConsultingVoting
Mr. Dan Hogan MedalogixVoting
Mr. Sean Kirk Bone McAllester Norton PLLCVoting
Ms. Christie Laird AttorneyVoting
Ms. Kristine Lalonde Lipscomb UniversityVoting
Mr. Thomas O'Neal Lasley SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.Voting
Dr. Michael Minch Retired SurgeonVoting
Mr. John Nefflen Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLPVoting
Ms. Kearstin Patterson HCAVoting
Ms. Kearstin Patterson HCAVoting
Ms. Callie Pfeifer Conserv Business ServicesVoting
Ms. Brie Nicole Robinson C3 ConsultingVoting
Mr. Josh Rosenblatt Frost Brown Todd, LLCVoting
Mr. Conrad Schneider Messer ConstructionVoting
Mr. Scott Schumann Life-Links, LLCVoting
Mr. Slade Sevier Adams and Reece, LLPVoting
Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen Retired EducatorVoting
Ms. Andrea Stilwell InterFaith Dental ClinicNonVoting
Ms. Vicki Yates NewsChannel 5Voting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 26
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 17
Female 13
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Board CoChair
Board CoChair Mr. Joe Christopher
Company Affiliation Relode, LLC
Term Jan 2016 to Dec 2017
Standing Committees
Advisory Board
Board Development / Board Orientation
Development / Fund Raising
Campus Planning and Development
Risk Management Provisions
Accident & Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Commercial General Liability
Directors & Officers Policy
Employment Practices Liability
General Property Coverage
Life Insurance
Additional Board Members
Henry Bedford Southwestern
Dawn Bunetta
Karen Conrad
William Diehl Pinnacle Bank
Chad Greer Northwestern Mutual
Sameera Lowe
Jim Schulman City Council
CEO Comments

Statement from the Board President:  

The Safe Haven Family Shelter organization has operated for over 32years in Middle Tennessee to support and empower homeless families with children to achieve lasting self sufficiency. The key challenges for our clients (and our organization) are as societal as they are individual. Affordable housing and living wage jobs are becoming more and more difficult as the Nashville community continues to thrive and expand. Many service jobs are created by the growth of our city - but also many entrants into the area land those jobs, drive up the cost of living and challenge the livelihood of the families that typically become our clients.

As an organization, we have recently invested critical resources, time and dollars on increasing our Social Enterprise and Community Advocacy efforts. As Board President, I personally feel responsible for taking Safe Haven to the next level as it relates to expanding our reach and impact exponentially. The way we can do that is by effective partnerships with the government and businesses - as well as helping to shape and educate the community on the needs of our clients. To that end, we have supplemented our reach and impact by launching an Advisory Council as well as an Emeritus Board. These two arms of our organization help to link us with the community and influential business leaders so that we can achieve the impact we desire.

Partnerships with landlords and job providers will allow our clients a quicker path to success than in the past. Our organization has stellar results serving clients that come through our programs. We have an amazing staff that utilizes (and develops) best practices throughout the nation for serving homeless families. With the alignment of our staff and board resources, we will take the next step in achieving our Vision - ending family homelessness in Middle Tennessee.

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Joyce K. Lavery
Term Start June 2009
Joyce Lavery has been a nonprofit executive since 1994. In Nashville, she began her experience as The Director of Program Services, Research, and Innovation at the Girl Scout Council of Middle Tennessee for six years. In 2000, she became the Executive Director of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Nashville Region and spearheaded its independence as the President and Executive Director of Community Nashville and was among its founding members. While serving the NCCJ and Community Nashville, she was elected to the National Staff Committee and was appointed to the evaluation committee which produced a nationally recognized evaluation handbook. Ms. Lavery was also a founding member of The National Federation of Just Communities and served on its board. Ms. Lavery has also served on other boards including Bastion, Inc., Happy Tales, Community Shares. In her previous life, she received a Master's Degree in Applied Urban Anthropology from the University of Memphis. While a graduate student, she helped found The Women's Fund of Memphis, served as in multiple leadership roles and received a Writing Across the Disciplines Award for designing and teaching a class for the curriculum in qualitative research methods and received recognition for her student teaching along with writing and delivering papers on poverty studies and neighborhood development. Her interests span across these interests: diversity, justice, and community.
She is married to Dr. David Lavery, a professor at MTSU and nationally known scholar in media studies and has two grown daughters, one a writer and one an attorney, all published authors.
Former CEOs
Ms Catherine Knowles Oct 2008 - June 2009
Mr Bruce Newport Jan 2004 - Sept 2008
Full Time Staff 17
Part Time Staff 10
Volunteers 2000
Contractors 2
Retention Rate 94%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 3
When was Strategic Plan adopted? Jan 2017
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? Under Development
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Yes
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)2004
ANE (Association of Nonprofit Executives)2004
Center for Nonprofit Management Excellence Network2004
United Way Member Agency1994
Nashville Chamber of Commerce2006
Nashville Coalition for the Homeless2004
Nashville Chamber of Commerce2012
Excellence in Communication AwardCenter for Nonprofit Management2002
Marvin Runyan Leadership AwardCenter for Nonprofit Management2010
Finalist - Compassionate Care AwardCenter for Nonprofit Management/Baptist Healing Trust2011
EVE Certification - Excellence in Volunteer EngagementCenter for Nonprofit Management2012
Collaboration College FinalistLipscomb University, HCA, CNM2012
Parthenon Award -Best Brochure (Widen Our Welcome)PRSA2013
Top Ten Charities Worth Watching and 4-Star RatingCharity Navigator2014
EVE-Excellence in Volunteer EngagementCenter for Nonprofit Management/ Hands On Nashville2014
Neighborhood Builder Award & Grant RecipientBank of America2015
Senior Staff
Title Director of Communications and Development
Experience/Biography Rachael Wilkins has been a part of the Safe Haven team since June 2004, and is currently employed as the Director of Communications and Development. Rachael is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University, where she received her B.S. in Interpersonal Communications. At Trevecca, Rachael was a member of the Women’s Soccer team, and was a Scholar Athlete. She also completed a Marketing internship with the Nashville Sounds. After college, she moved home to East Tennessee to fulfill an Assistant Coaching position at Elizabethton High School. She then relocated to Nashville to pursue opportunities within her field, and has been with Safe Haven ever since.
Title Program Director
Title Donor Relations and Events Manager
Title Program Director
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2017
Projected Revenue $1,828,396.00
Projected Expenses $1,828,396.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Endowment Spending Percentage (if selected) 0%
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Revenue$1,597,485$1,540,126$1,136,721
Total Expenses$2,008,158$1,785,129$1,445,554
Revenue Less Expenses($410,673)($245,003)($308,833)
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$437,188$415,484$351,599
Individual Contributions$800,147$775,783$405,342
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,745$3,236$5,092
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$276,315$245,160$409,154
Revenue In-Kind$64,750$84,800$67,200
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$1,540,174$1,418,372$1,109,548
Administration Expense$223,269$163,772$137,758
Fundraising Expense$244,715$202,985$198,248
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.800.860.79
Program Expense/Total Expenses77%79%77%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue16%14%17%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$3,684,052$3,914,691$4,482,492
Current Assets$1,392,331$1,429,274$1,847,469
Long-Term Liabilities$216,522$332,000$832,000
Current Liabilities$52,771$45,360$44,158
Total Net Assets$3,414,759$3,537,331$3,606,334
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities26.3831.5141.84
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets6%8%19%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $800,147Contributions, Gifts and Grants $775,783Fundraising Events $409,154
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants $437,188Government Grants $415,484Contributions, Gifts & Grants $405,342
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising Events $276,315Fundraising Events $245,160Government Grants $351,599
IRS Letter of Exemption
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? No
Campaign Purpose Safe Haven's goals are to renovate and expand the current shelter facility. Funds will be used for capital improvements, to expand the facility to serve twice as many families, and to develop a more efficient space for both residents/clients and professional staff.
Capital Campaign Goal $3,000,000.00
Campaign Start and End Dates Nov 2011 to Dec 2015
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $2,775,402.00 as of Mar 2014
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires June 2018
Organization Comments

*Most Recent FYE Total Net Income $(113,766)

In 2014, Safe Haven Family Shelter recognized a non-cash loss on the disposal of the old shelter facility when the new one was constructed--showing a net loss for the year. For just the organization's operating budget, at the end of the 2014 year, the balance sheet demonstrated a $111,911 over budget in income.

In 2014, the Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from the 990.
Financial documents completed by Crosslin & Associates, PC.
Comments provided by Kathryn Bennett 7/25/17.
Nonprofit Safe Haven Family Shelter
Address 1234 Third Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37210
Primary Phone (615) 256-8195 104
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Joyce K. Lavery
Board Chair Mr John Nefflen
Board Chair Company Affiliation Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP
Year of Incorporation 1984
Former Names
St. Patrick's Shelter

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