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Durham County Department of Social Services, NC

The purpose of project Durham Integrated Domestic Violence Response System (DIDVRS) was to improve system collaboration among Durham community providers specific to their approaches, values, and assumptions when working across systems on behalf of abused parents and their children. The overall goal was to improve outcomes for abused parents and children/youth exposed to domestic violence (DV) by: Improving the system and responses to abused parents and their children exposed to Dacross Durham; coordinating and providing new or enhanced services for families exposed to DV; and enhancing evidence and practice-informed services, strategies, advocacy, and interventions for families exposed to DV. The target population included diverse children ranging in age from 0-17 years, and their non-abusing caregiverwith a focus on Latino and African-American families. 

Core strategies:

  • Comprehensive training for professionals that interface with families exposed to DV

  • Brief case management/referral services to children and abused caregivers

  • Trauma-informed assessment and treatment services to selected pilot families

  • Community advocacy/awareness efforts

Impact and outcomes around collaboration among partners:

  • A full-time family advocate position was created and charged with supporting victims of DV and their children by providing brief case management and referral services to identified families. 290 families were referred to the family advocate and the advocate referred 178 families to over 14 different agencies and service programs.

  • The number of DV related CPS reports increased over time, representing 24% of all reports in 2017 and increasing to 29% in 2019. Importantly, the number of families with more than 1 DV related report decreased steadily each year from 22% in 2017 to 18% in 2018.

  • An informational flyer was created by the Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP), outlining a storytelling project and inviting survivors who have received services through partner agencies to learn more about the process and engage in sharing their stories.

  • One survivor shared that the Exchange Family Center (EFC) provided her with, “wonderful, fast services for anything she needed, big or small – I would go home some nights and cry… good tears for all the people helping me that didn’t know me from the man on the moon.”

  • Another survivor shared that she felt safe and equipped to protect her children, and she knew that if she needed any additional assistance, Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC) would be there for her.

Training for first responders:

  • A multi-phase training was designed for first responders and over 400 professionals from key agencies that participated in the DV 101 training. Post survey results indicated that the training increased first responders knowledge and confidence related to key training topics.

  • Nearly 30 professionals from key agencies participated in the DV Phase II training and survey data indicated the more in-depth small group training allowed participants to dig deeper into their work with families experiencing DV and gain concrete examples and increased knowledge to improve their work in the future.

  • Data showed that there was an increase in reports to DCDSS from DPD and an increase of calls to the DCRC hotline, indicating that the grant was successful in helping to increase crisis hotline calls and link survivors to services.

The development and expansion of evidence-based therapies:

  • Assessment and treatment services were provided to selected families by EFC and The Center for Child and Family Health (CCFH). EFC received referrals for 59 families and were able to successfully engage 29 (49%). CCFH received referrals for 20 families and were able to successfully engage 3 (15%).

  • A total of 249 treatment sessions were provided to families using evidenced-based therapies including MDFT, PCIT, TF-CBT, and ABC. Most families showed improvement on observational or self-report measures specific to the EBT provided.

Early childhood training and support strategies:

  • Nearly 100 childcare professionals participated in a toxic stress training. Participants reported an increased knowledge of what toxic stress is, how it affects brain development, and strategies to support children who have behaviors influenced by toxic stress.

  • 11 teachers received in-depth coaching and consultation, which provided them with concrete strategies to use in their classrooms aimed at buffering the effects of toxic stress.

Project DIDVRS partners:

Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP)  

Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC)  

The Exchange Family Center (EFC)  

The Center for Child and Family Health (CCFH)  

To learn more about project DIDVRS, or to access project resources, please contact Sabrina Bristo, Project Coordinator/Advocate, at (919) 560-8947 or