Forrest Bluff Campus   The Need For Safe Haven School

As Founder of Safe Haven School, I have a strong commitment to special needs children. Students who are intellectually age-appropriate, or even gifted, may be emotionally fragile. Children with these issues need a safe, nurturing environment away from ridicule or intimidation.

They need protection from verbal or physical aggression because these stressors perpetuate emotional problems. They also cause children to “relive” the original causes of PTSD.

Safe Haven School works to draw students out of their depression or anxiety. We teach coping skills and self-esteem at a young age. Our goal is to prevent them from being among the young adults who turn to drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, self-injury or suicide. To learn, grow and thrive, our students need a physically and emotionally safe place. They deserve it. We will do everything in our power to see that they get it.

Holly Schaefer, Founder

Our Mission

Safe Haven School provides a safe, nurturing therapeutic environment for children aged 5-18 facing various challenges, such as emotional disturbances, learning disabilities, autism, and other health impairments by:

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Safe Haven provided an academically challenging curriculum in a nurturing environment for my son during his middle school years. Instead of feeling defeated, he felt confident as a learner and as a friend. He transitioned beautifully to his district high school. We are so appreciative of everything the faculty and administration did for our son.

A Parent

I love this school dearly. I hope it helps more kids in the future. My life is much better because of Safe Haven School.

A Student

Our daughter was severely bullied and suffered from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since she started to attend Safe Haven School she has gradually improved to the point she is able to trust, feel connected and socialize comfortably with students again. With the help from this program and the attentive and supportive staff at Safe Haven School, she has greatly improved. 

A Parent

You have done so much for me and these kids. I’m proud to be a student at Safe Haven School.

A Student

I am proud to say that my daughter will be the first High School Graduate from Safe Haven, and our journey to this point would have been hugely challenging without the support and care of Safe Haven.

My daughter was trapped in a terrible self-perpetuating cycle of learning disabilities and emotional challenges – failure in school created anxiety and depression, and these emotional issues strongly impacted her focus and ability to learn. My child was emotionally shut down, repressing her emotions and had given up. The teachers and therapists at Safe Haven were able to break down those walls of repressed emotion and help her to learn constructive ways to manage her grief and intense feelings. Safe Haven created a learning environment that felt safe and comfortable, giving her the confidence to start to trust her intelligence and enjoy learning again. I just don’t know where our family would be without the incredible caring and support of Safe Haven’s staff. We are grateful every day.

Annie Iverson

Thanks to everyone for making me feel very welcome here and supporting me when I needed you most. I’ve come a long way since I started. I am much less angry, and frustrated. I would like to thank my parents for sending me here. I learned a lot during my time here and I thank you all for helping me through it.

A Student

“…After researching all options, my gut told me that Safe Haven School was the right place for [my daughter], and she felt that way, too. I’ve never felt more comfortable in my life, knowing that she was in the best hands. Every person on the staff at Safe Haven School is outstanding, compassionate and supportive…”

Safe Haven Parent

Here is the text I received from Liam’s dad Bill:

Liam surprised me this morning when I came home from work. He had cleaned the turtle tank, set up the filter, emptied the standby tank, and put the feeder fish and the turtle back in. Plus, he cleaned the living room, folded the blankets, and vacuumed the floor, put shoes away, and set up his bags for school. This is another quantum leap forward in his development. I strongly feel the influence Safe Haven is having. He told me the motivation was to make me happy when I came home. I was ecstatic and started complimenting him on his efforts.

Safe Haven has provided a level of support and understanding of my daughters internalizing nature that we had not been able to find elsewhere. The often chaotic environment of other therapy schools had not been a good fit.  We are so thankful for the progress my daughter has made while at Safe Haven and highly recommend this school for anyone who has a child that tends to internalize and shut down. At Safe Haven my daughter has found an environment in which she could blossom. 

When looking for a therapy school I had worried about trading off emotional support with academic growth. At Save Haven we have found a perfect balance of both. It has been such a pleasure to see my daughter grow emotionally while embracing her educational opportunities.

The staff at Safe Haven are remarkable! Having their support has helped my daughter and our family through some very stressful times. We have not only found a wonderful school but have found partners along a difficult journey. We can’t thank you enough for everything you have done.


I am writing this testimonial on behalf of Safe Haven School but I am also writing it to help those parents out there who find themselves seeking help for their emotionally handicapped teenager.

My 13 year old daughter was unable to cope within the traditional high school environment, diagnosed with Depression, suffering from extreme anxiety and panic attacks daily. I note here that she had no behavioral/disciplinary issues.

The traditional HS did everything they could to accommodate her condition but soon realized that they did not have the resources needed to help her.

Via her IEP it was determined that alternative schooling would be required. I was given a list of various schools to choose from and quickly realized that there are many different types of alternative school choices. I found that most of the school choices where designed to handle children suffering with disciplinary problems such as bullying, violent tendencies, substance abuse and the like.

My daughter attended Safe Haven School for nearly 2 years. She came to Safe Haven as a freshmen severely depressed, cutting herself in order to deal with her daily anxiety. She was under the care of a Psychiatrist monthly, a Therapist weekly and undergoing medication therapy.

Safe Haven offers coordination of care to its students. This is essential in dealing with a teenager that is emotionally handicapped as they must learn to integrate their illness with their academic and daily life. The staff at Safe Haven immediately made her feel safe. Once a sense of security was established they went to work on helping her identify and understand her illness. The art therapy program worked wonders in helping her get in touch with her feelings and showing her how to express them constructively. They worked with her outside therapist to coordinate her care and suffered with us through multiple out-patient hospitalizations.

As a parent I really appreciated the support they offered me directly. The staff was always available to help me through those stressful days. Staying in contact with me weekly to update me on her failures and accomplishments. Honestly, without their help, I could not have persisted with her doctors, finally getting the proper diagnosis for my daughter.

My daughter has finally been correctly diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder and is now on the proper medications that have allowed her to return full-time to the traditional school setting. Her attendance at Safe Haven over the last 2 years prepared her for this transition and without them I am not sure where we would be now.

I want to thank Safe Haven and its’ entire staff for being there and I hope it grows and continues to be available to all the students out there in pain.

For any parent out there in need of alternative schooling, offering coordination of care for an emotionally handicapped child, Safe Haven School is, hands down, the best choice in Lake Country.

Parent 2016