In Fiscal Year 2010, the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) awarded FVPSA grants to four statewide coalitions for capacity building projects including Alaska, Idaho, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. These four grantees served as leaders for expanding a broader network for support, developing evidence-based interventions for children, youth and parents exposed to domestic violence.
The Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault worked to improve collaboration between services and enhancing responses to Alaska’s families by addressing the lack of coordination between domestic violence agencies, tribal partners and child welfare systems. The Safe Growing Together Project examined what domestic violence programs can do to enhance relationships between battered mothers and their children, especially those from under-represented communities or involved in the child welfare system. Alaskan Family Toolbox (SAFT) project included cross education and development of an integrated training curriculum and policies. This project included community based multidisciplinary teams in four Alaskan communities: Dillingham, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Kodiak. During the project all four sites hosted cross-collaborative training of Tribal Services, Advocacy and Office of Children’s Services providers with a focus on Historical Trauma related to the Alaska Native community, understanding safety planning within Advocacy and OCS, and understanding parents who batter.
Resilient Families Idaho – From helping one survivor at a time, to fostering healthy relationships into the next generation.
The counselor helped me talk to my mom about how scared I was and how my tummy hurt. I didn’t want to bother mom because she had all that stuff with dad to worry about. But now I feel so much better. And me and mom are going to be all right. – 9-year-old boy
Resilient Families Idaho (RFI) initiative worked to transform advocacy and counseling practices for families exposed to domestic violence. Traditional services have helped thousands of survivors and children, but not necessarily within the context of the non-abusing parent and her/his children. Yet it is this relationship which can be the biggest factor in a child’s healthy development. Resilient Families Idaho’s trained counselors and advocates provided trauma-informed, developmentally sensitive parent-child services to promote resiliency and thriving, life-long healthy relationships. Resilient Families Idaho’s partners integrated these parent-child practices and services into their overall organizational structure and built bridges in their communities to increase the most comprehensive, child and parent-child centered approach to creating healthy futures.
“As Creative Arts Therapists working with children affected by domestic violence, we have found that including the parent-child dynamic as part of the treatment is vital. Not only does it strengthen the parent-child bond, but it provides an opportunity for appropriate roles within the family to be restored and supports the client’s ability to reach their identified treatment goals. –Therapist
The New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women worked to expand an established model program for children who have been exposed to domestic violence. The Peace: A Learned Solution (PALS) program provides children ages 3 through 12 with creative arts therapy to help them heal from exposure to domestic violence. The PALS Expansion project worked with eleven NJ counties to ensure that the therapeutic intervention being provided is evidenced based through conducting a fidelity scale and outcome evaluation. The programs were provided with intensive technical assistance and training to improve their practice. A pilot PALS program was conducted for adolescents ages 13 -17 to gauge the effectiveness of the creative arts therapy with teens exposed to domestic violence.
Growing Together was a three year project to examine what domestic violence programs could do to enhance relationships between battered mothers and their children, especially those from under-represented communities or involved in the child welfare system. The project goals were:
- Foster resiliency in children exposed to domestic violence by strengthening relationships between adult victims of domestic violence and their minor children;
- Expand the capacity of programs to strengthen parent-child relationships by developing trauma-informed interventions and using culturally relevant methods;
- Develop the capacity of programs to provide stronger support for families engaged in child welfare system.
The project began with a series of focus groups for battered mothers and youth and an initial evaluation of the Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP) at the Sojourner Family Peace Center (SFPC) in Milwaukee. CWVP is a sequence of parallel support and education groups for victims of domestic violence and their children. Mothers attend groups that explore the harmful effects that witnessing intimate partner violence has on their children. The program seeks to increase parent’s knowledge of the effects of abuse on their children and increase their capacity to support their children’s emotional well-being. Children’s groups are geared towards gaining a greater understanding of what is happening between the adults in their lives and learning strategies for keeping safe when violence occurs. The expectation was that educational services will help children develop coping skills to lessen the effects of witnessing domestic violence.
In Fall 2011, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin awarded three small two-year grants to culturally specific domestic violence programs to develop strategies for enhancing mother child relationships that are informed by both trauma and culture.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin also gathered information from Wisconsin domestic violence programs regarding their use of evidence-based practice, trauma-informed care strategies and the success of efforts to collaborate with child protective services (CPS) or Indian Child Welfare (ICW). The project concluded with a final evaluation of the SFPC Child Witness to Violence Project and the three grantee projects