Jaycee Dugard was abducted on her way to school near Lake Tahoe at age 11, rescued at age 29 from the Antioch backyard where she was imprisoned for 18 years, and today is 37 years old.
Glen Ellen psychologist Rebecca Bailey has been the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s go-to resource for families in crisis for more than a decade.
Within days of Dugard being reunited with her family in 2009, the Center phoned Bailey, and Dugard arrived at Bailey’s modest ranch in Sonoma Valley to begin the long process of recovery.
Bailey pulled together a team and spent two years actively working with Dugard, her mother, aunt, sister and two daughters. Amid the endless media coverage of the case at the time, the fact that they were in Sonoma was a secret that the community kept proudly.
“Without knowing who we were or the specifics of our situation, the community really rallied around us while we were living in Sonoma Valley,” said Jaycee Dugard when reached by phone earlier this week.
“A handful of people here – and they know who they are – gave in extraordinary ways to make sure that Jaycee and her family had the basics they needed to stay here and heal,” added Bailey, mentioning in particular the support of Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett and local church groups who gathered donations.
“Families typically arrive with very little,” explained Dugard. “My mom quit her job and moved to Sonoma with me right after I was freed. We had almost nothing.”
Dugard eventually received a settlement from the State of California, and today, Rebecca Bailey’s ongoing work with families in crisis is made possible in large part by Dugard’s JAYC Foundation.
“I wanted something good to come out of this,” said Dugard. “Something beyond, ‘oh that poor little girl.’ These kinds of needs are not met by any other groups that we know of and I want families going through similar situations to have access to what helped me so much.”
While Bailey has been involved with many of the highest profile cases that make the pages of People magazine, and been on virtually every network talk and news show, she says that many more cases don’t make the news.
Bailey began with a small local practice in Glen Ellen, working closely with the Redwood Family & Child Center, and was a well-known fixture around town.
Over time she realized there were cases for which an hour a week or even an hour a day wasn’t effective enough, and she started bringing families to her ranch.
“The local work we did with children here in Sonoma in the early years laid the foundation for the high profile work we do today,” she said.
She pays her bills through “high conflict” divorce cases and her therapy practice, called Transitioning Families, but the work that feeds her soul is the work she does through Dugard’s foundation.
When Bailey was 11 years old, she herself was part of a high-conflict divorce.
“I saw firsthand how hard the system is on children,” she said.
Bailey tailors the therapy to the family and what it needs.
“It’s easier for some family members to move on than for others, and it isn’t always the ones you expect,” she explained. “Things will never be the same but we help each person work toward a new normal. Families are treated in the hospital but they do their real healing here.”
How can you help?
“My family and I formed the JAYC (Just Ask Yourself to Care) Foundation because we believe that families who survive major life traumas need and deserve the kind of support we received,” says Jaycee Dugard. Rebecca Bailey’s Glen Ellen-based Transitioning Families provides the team for the clinical services provided by the foundation. The foundation relies heavily on donations to buy the essentials a family might lack right after a crisis occurs. You can support the JAYC Foundation at thejaycfoundation.org.