Establishing relationships and providing training for child/youth serving organizations and child protection has become critical for the ongoing safety and welfare of the families with whom we work. As our programs strive to create relationships with programs offering legal, housing, economic stability, and immigration services, we should equally prioritize creating a network of child/youth serving programs.
Most battered women and their children are still in settings where we are not: neighborhood clinics, hospitals, welfare and child protection offices, day care programs and Head Start, schools, and Family Resource Centers. We need to collaborate with these settings to support the work that they are already doing for abused women or to help them establish responses. ~ Susan Schechter, 1997
Often families who participate in our programs are also involved with child protection and child serving community agencies. It is incumbent upon us to work with those systems to ensure an understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence, how batterers parent and impact children and mothers, and how to support the safety of both children and non-offending parents. Promising practices for building and sustaining community partnerships include:
- Building and sustaining relationships and partnerships with staffs of other agencies and systems that affect family safety.
- Establishing a shared vision for practice based on safety for all family members.
- Understanding various perspectives and work processes and acknowledging the experience and skills of staffs in other agencies.
- Developing joint protocols and policies to guide practice.
Use these questions to revisit program practices.
- Do we have established connections and referral protocols with community programs and mental health providers that will support children and teens and promote resilience and healing?
- Are we working with schools and early education programs to coordinate services whenever possible?
- Are we effectively collaborating with community organizations to better meet the needs of the diversity of families with whom we work?
- Do we have an established relationship with child protection which allows communication about supporting the safety of children as well as adult victims of domestic violence and ensures that children are not removed from non-abusive parents?
- Do we intentionally build and sustain relationships and partnerships with staffs of other agencies and systems that affect family safety?
- Do we work with community partners to establish a shared vision for practice based on safety for all family members?
- Do we understand various perspectives and work processes and acknowledge the experience and skills of staffs in other agencies.
- Have we developed joint protocols and policies with key community partners to guide practice?