Children's Response Center was developed by members of the community responding to the need for services for sexually abused children and their families in East King County. Previously, victims of sexual abuse were referred to Seattle for services. This required that Eastside police or family members transport children, and made it difficult or impossible for families to seek counseling or follow-up care.
After a community needs assessment in the early 1980's, a task force was formed to address the need for these services on the Eastside. The group approached the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress (formerly Sexual Assault Center) as a model for the new program. The Harborview program immediately began working with the task force and continues to provide administrative support. Overlake Hospital Medical Center provides in-kind support for office space, utilities, phones and mailing services.
The program started serving the community in January 1985. The original planning task force became the first Advisory Board in 1986. Building on their expertise in sexual assault and available research in treating the traumatic effects of other forms of violence, Children's Response Center began providing services for victims of other forms of trauma in 1997. In 1999, the program expanded services to North King County. In 2005, the program moved to new offices on the West Campus of Overlake Hospital Medical Center.