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October 12, 2022 | Webinar

Building Bridges: Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Violence Specialists Making a Difference in Child Welfare


Marcela Cobian, Michiko Kita, Yokaty Salazar-Reyes, Tre' Skelton, Shvonne Walker


Wendy Mota

Date Recorded:

October 12, 2022


In this 90-minute webinar, DV/IPV Specialists in Illinois, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania share their experiences and actionable insights from working at the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare. 

Child welfare professionals in many states benefit from having regular access to expert consultation from domestic violence specialists who can help them assess a situation, create a family plan, facilitate access to services and resources, conduct safety planning and/or transfer learning through training and coaching. The partnership works best when child welfare and DV professionals invest in developing relationships in which different perspectives can be discussed and debated openly, and where decisions are informed by the lived experience and wisdom of survivors themselves. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the roles and value of DV/IPV Specialists working collaboratively with child welfare agencies. 

  • Appreciate the critical need to understand and respond to the unique circumstances of families experiencing DV. 

  • Learn about relational/supportive strategies for effective engagement and accountability with the person using violence to create pathways to survivor safety and change. 


Wendy Mota 
Program Manager, Children & Youth Program | Futures Without Violence 
Wendy Mota, M.S., is a program manager on the Children & Youth Team at Futures Without Violence. She provides practice coaching and technical assistance to professionals and organizations across the nation regarding child welfare and domestic violence. Prior to joining FUTURES, Wendy held positions such as director of diversity and accessibility for a domestic violence state coalition, as a domestic violence advocate and as a social worker for state government. Wendy has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Social Services from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy from Bay Path University. When Wendy is not working, you can find her singing karaoke with her family, dancing bachata, napping, practicing yoga, meditating, playing with her toddler bestie Rio, reading or walking the beach.


  • Marcela Cobian 
    Director of Domestic Violence/DCFS Program | A Safe Place 
    Marcela Cobian is a director for the Domestic Violence DCFS co-located program for A Safe Place in Lake County, IL. She provides consultations for DCFS workers as well as direct services for domestic violence victims involved in the DCFS system. Additionally, Marcela focuses on providing DV education and training for DCFS Investigators, Intact and Permanency workers. Prior to joining A Safe Place, Marcela held positions as a Utilization Manager, Clinical Supervisor and Clinical Coordinator. Additional positions included Mental Health Professional, Grants Coordinator, Addictions Counselor and Public Health Prevention Specialist. Marcela has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Liberty University and an Associates of Applied Science in Human Services from College of Lake County. Marcela is currently a graduate level student in the Masters of Social Work Program at Dominican University and is set to graduate May 2023. Marcela is also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor since 2013. 

  • Michiko Kita 
    Domestic Violence Unit Supervisor | Massachusetts Department of Children and Families 
    Michiko Kita has 20+ years of experience in the field of domestic violence and child welfare. As a supervisor in the Domestic Violence Unit at MA Department of Children and Families she oversees the work of DV Specialists in the Northern, Southern, and Boston regions, provides trainings for the DCF field staff and community providers, and is part of the Domestic Violence Unit management team developing child welfare practice guidelines for DV cases. Michiko is a solution-oriented leader who values integrated clinical approach, assessment and engagement in the family system, and collaboration. Prior to joining DCF Michiko worked in DV agencies for survivors where she gained diverse experiences. During her time, she was involved in work specializing in immigration advocacy for survivors and the movement to remove barriers for LGBTQ and male survivors in shelter settings. She has a Master of Social Work and Post Certification in the Relational and Multi-Contextual Treatment of Trauma. 

  • Yokaty Salazar-Reyes 
    Domestic Violence Specialist | Massachusetts Department of Children and Families 
    Yokaty Salazar-Reyes is a Domestic Violence Specialist for the MA Department of Children and Families Northeast Regional Office and provides support and consultation to the Lowell, Framingham, and Cambridge/Burlington DCF Area Offices on child welfare cases involving domestic violence. She has been working on behalf of survivors for over 6 years and in addition to her current position at DCF, she is a Hotline Advocate for The Network/La Red in Boston, MA. She holds a B.A.Sc. degree in Counseling Psychology with a minor in the Disability Studies and Spanish Language from UMASS Lowell and is continuing her education in the field of Counseling at Cambridge College, Boston MA. Prior to coming to DCF, Yokaty worked for the Sexual Assault Response Unit at the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) as one of their Protective Services Navigators and prior to that she was a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counselor/Advocate at the YWCA of Greater Lawrence, MA. 

  • Tre’ Skelton 
    Intimate Partner Violence Specialist | Women’s Center and Shelter, Greater Pittsburgh 
    Tre’ Skelton is a CYF IPV Specialist for Women’s Center and Shelter. He has been working at WCS since 2017 and has held titles such as a child advocate and BIP facilitator. As a CYF IPV Specialist Tre’ facilitates coaching, consultation, and personal peer support to Allegheny County Children Youth and Family workforce. He also provides psychoeducation and safety planning to survivors and people who use violence. In his free time he enjoys basketball, working out, attending sporting events and concerts. 

  • Shvonne Walker 
    Intimate Partner Violence Specialist | Women’s Center and Shelter, Greater Pittsburgh 
    Shvonne Walker is a CYF IPV Specialist through Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. She has been an advocate for families experiencing domestic violence for over 5 years. As a CYF IPV Specialist, Shvonne facilitates coaching & consultations, trainings, and personal peer support with Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth, and Families (AC OCYF) workforce. She also provides psychoeducation about IPV and safety planning strategies to adult survivors and persons using violence.