WHAT WE DO

can make a difference in the
life of a child.

Harbor House’s mission is

  • To provide a safe and caring place to evaluate the child who may have been abused,
  • To encourage the collaboration of social and legal agencies for the benefit of the child,
  • to at all times lessen the trauma suffered by the child.

Our STORY

In 1991, the Floyd County Child Abuse Protocol Committee recommended the establishment of a coordinated system designed to respond to child abuse cases. The committee specifically recommended the establishment of a children’s center and the creation of a multidisciplinary child abuse investigation team. After detailed research and much effort, the Northwest Georgia Child Advocacy Center, known as “Harbor House,” was established in the fall of 1994.

More than 7,200 children have been interviewed at Harbor House since it was established. Our Safety Awareness For Everyone (S.A.F.E) Program has reached more than 30,000 elementary school children since it began in 2007. Today, Harbor House provides family and child advocacy services to every client that we see, and on-site trauma-focused therapy services for the children that we see and others in the community who cannot find access to care, free of charge.

Harbor House is an accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance and The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia.

THE TEAM

Alex Quarles Boyd

MDT Coordinator, Forensic Interviewer, Child and Family Advocate

Alex has a math degree from Emmanuel University and a Master’s of Sociology from the University of West Georgia. She interned at Harbor House when she was obtaining her undergrad, and she enjoyed it so much that she decided to work here full-time. Alex enjoys traveling, reading, and listening to a variety of different kinds of music and podcasts. She has two dogs, Willow and Maple, to whom she basically believes she gave birth. She has recently married the love of her life, Noah and they bought their first house together. 

alex@harborhousega.org

 

Karen Tovey

Advocacy Coordinator, Floyd County CASA Program

Karen is a 1977 graduate of, then, North Texas State University and a 2003 graduate of Sam Houston State University. After retiring in 2006, she relocated to Georgia and began working in mental health services with children and adolescents. Karen was site administrator for a mental health clinic in Rome from 2012-2014 and in 2015, she became the court coordinator for the Rome Circuit Mental Health Court until she retired for a second time in 2022. Karen enjoys pottery, woodworking, and cooking.

karen@floydcasa.org

 

Lauren Thacker

Executive Director

lauren@harborhousega.org

 

Shemika Roberts

CASA Program Manager

A Floyd County native, Shemika graduated from Shorter College with a BS is Psychology. She has been working with children and families in social work locally for fifteen years. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in Human Services Nonprofit Management from Shorter University. She currently is revamping and updating the CASA program here in Floyd County. She has a daughter in middle school to whom she is a Girl Scout leader. She enjoys arts and crafts; especially painting and baking.

shemika@floydcasa.org

 

Sandra Chavez

Cultural Competency Lead, Forensic Interviewer, Child and Family Advocate

Sandra is a Cedartown native. She got her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and then obtained her Master’s in Public Administration, both from West Georgia. She previously worked as an immigration paralegal. She previously worked as a CNA. She loves to read and binge Criminal Minds. She volunteers as a secretary at her church and spends a lot of her time involved there and helping her community. 

sandra@harborhousega.org

 

ally mcelwee

Mental Health Coordinator, Forensic Interviewer, Child and Family Advocate
Ally graduated from the University of Tampa in 2018 with bachelor’s degree in Epidemiology and Behavioral Health.  She worked for a Mobile Crisis Response Team where she learned she enjoyed mental health work.  She moved over to working in Child Protective Services, both in Florida and in Georgia.  After that, she dove back into the mental health field where she worked as a 1:1 mental health coach with teenagers via an app platform. Following that, she partnered with a long-time mentor to build a healing arts platform from the ground up, which is still a work in progress. Ally is deep into the throws of her Masters of Social Work at Arizona State University. When not at Harbor House, Ally is a master level scuba diver, wife, mom of two, and free-spirited artist.

ally@harborhousega.org

 

LEADERSHIP

Severo Avila

President

Callette Hollingsworth

Vice President

Evan Mather

Treasurer

Melissa Phillips

Past President

Katie Edwards

Secretary

Lee Bowden

Kayleigh Mull

Gayland Cooper

Erin Davis

Meagan Carter

Kate Daggett

Casee Gilbert

Clay Cooper

Sarah Bingham

Mark Rogers

Kelsey Rice

Courtney Shepard

Becky Smyth

Marty Robinson

Dave Roberson

Caroline Aultman

Laura Walley

PARTNERS

Harbor House could not do our important child advocacy work alone. We have wonderful partners in the nonprofit, medical, social services, law enforcement, child protective, legal, and education communities, among others.

Below are some programs that Harbor House hosts to engage with community partners. We thank all for their participation and enthusiasm. If you see an initiative that we may be missing, please reach out to us at 706.235.KIDS (5437).

The following links are offered for informational purposes and are not a substitution for medical, psychological, or legal care. Please read and utilize suggestions with your own best judgment and/or seek professional assistance. Harbor House is not responsible for the accuracy of any information shared by other sites. Upon clicking the links below, you are leaving Harbor House’s website and going to another, unaffiliated site where we do not have control over content.

WHAT?

The KIDzCouncil is a collaborative gathering of executive directors from
organizations who provide services to children and their families in our community.

HOW?

We gather to share, ask council, and celebrate. Quarterly meetings provide a venue for connection, conversation, and collaboration.

WHY?

This time for connection provides space for idea sharing, challenge conquering, and bridge building. Only by coming together can we move towards our collective goal.

GOAL

Collaborate to provide more efficient, available, accessible, and effective connection to services for children and their families in our community.

WHAT?

The Advocate’s Exchange is a sharing symposium where best practice in survivor
advocacy is shared.

WHO?

We gather to share what we know best and learn what we are curious about from
other advocates who are more expert in specific areas. For instance, the District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Program Advocate might share about victim’s compensation while the Child Advocacy Center’s Advocate might present on trauma-informed practices. This yearly event provides a venue for sharing, learning, growth, and collaboration.

HOW?

We gather to share, ask council, and celebrate.
Quarterly meetings provide a venue for connection, conversation, and collaboration.

WHY?

Advocates are the backbone of our organizations; they are often both the first and final points of contact for our clients. We want to give them the space to grow and opportunity to share their hard-won expertise.

GOAL

Develop more broadly trained, effective, and nuanced advocacy services for families and children in our communities, while providing space for genuine connection and relationship building between and across organizations.

OUR FACILITY

2024 will bring the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Harbor House. In the mid-1990’s, two homes, next door to each other in the “Between the Rivers” Historic District of downtown Rome were graciously donated to Harbor House. Time and age of the buildings and grounds had taken their toll. Harbor House’s Board of Directors secured a grant to refurbish the houses and The Rome Federated Garden Clubs, Inc., led by Townview Garden Club, secured the Plant America Community Project Grant to refurbish the grounds. With the funds in place and the commitment of many volunteers, 2022 was a year of reclaiming the beauty of Harbor House.

In addition to the grant money, each member of the Rome Federated Garden Clubs pledged one dollar in support of the project. Townview Garden Club also hosted a garage sale in order to donate extra funds for this project. Ten separate work days were scheduled throughout the duration of the project in which members volunteered their time and talents to clean up, remove the old, and plant new. These work days resulted in approximately 150 hours of volunteer time given by the Federated Garden Club and Townview Garden Club members. The project’s goal was to create a beautiful landscape on the grounds of Harbor House. This goal is based on the belief that the children served by Harbor House will experience tranquility and healing as a result of the beauty of the grounds, setting a tone of peace and welcoming before they enter the facility.

The outpouring of support not only from our Federated and Townview Garden Club members, but also from the community as a whole, was tremendous throughout this project. It has been wonderful coordinating the efforts of so many volunteers to bring beauty to a child’s world during a challenging time in their life.

Where do I get help?

Georgia Department of Family and Children Services
1-855-GA-Child, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you need the police, please contact:

Floyd County Police Department at (706) 235-7766
Polk County Police Department at (770) 748-7331
Aragon City Police Department at (770) 684-6563
Cave Spring Police Department at (706) 777-3382
Cedartown City Police Department at (770) 748-4123
Rockmart City Police Department at (770) 684-6558
Rome City Police Department at (706) 238-5111

In 1991, the Floyd County Child Abuse Protocol Committee recommended the establishment of a coordinated system designed to respond to child abuse cases. The committee specifically recommended the establishment of a children’s center and the creation of a multidisciplinary child abuse investigation team. After detailed research and much effort, the Northwest Georgia Child Advocacy Center, known as “Harbor House”, was established in the fall of 1994.

© 2023 Harbor House, Rome, GA. NWGA-CAC. CASA® logo, name, and slogans are trademarks.

Harbor House is a 501(c)3 (nonprofit) organization and donations are tax-deductible.

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