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Reimagining Child and Family Safety

Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and their families while repairing and preventing harms caused by existing systems requires a wide array of efforts. There is no one solution, but listening to young people, survivors and others who have endured the most harm will light the path toward Promising Futures.

Promising Futures Infographic

Just, Peaceful and Promising Futures Infographic

This infographic is an illustration of the many pathways to creating just, peaceful and promising futures where all families and children experience belonging, trust, play, joy and connection. This resource draws from the visions articulated by State coalitions in the SSWG, national TA partners and survivors who have first hand experience with the harms of child welfare systems as they operate today. 

The infographic is designed to be a map of the many possible steps your organization might take to shift from punitive responses to healing and accountability. At its foundation we lay out the Key Conditions that need to be in place. These are non-negotiable in just and peaceful futures. From here the visual branches off into three directions. These are neither opposing nor exclusive of each other. All these paths must be tread to reach the promising futures we seek.

State Strategy Working Group Learning Journey

In 2020, the Promising Futures National Leadership Network convened a State Strategy Working Group (SSWG) to support State DV and SV Coalitions in their efforts to reimagine family and community safety. This working group was made up of representatives from Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, Texas, Vermont, and Washington Coalitions.

Through robust and wide ranging discussions, the SSWG organized their guidance into three broad areas:

>> Supporting state coalitions to see centering children as essential in their support for survivors;
>> Creating community strategies to support survivors and family well being and;
>> Influencing current anti-violence organizations collaboration with child welfare.

Within these areas of guidance, members of the SSWG explored some key topics that they identified as priorities for their own growth and to provide offerings for the field. These topics include: rethinking mandated reporting, pathways to elevating youth voices and using storytelling as strategic and healing practice.

The overarching theme of all their efforts was to address the racial disparities and disproportionalities in terms of child welfare outcomes by centering historically marginalized people, namely, Black, indigenous and other people of color, Trans, Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and queer folks and people living with disabilities; that is, the people who were most impacted by the systems they sought to transform. There was consensus that the priority of the domestic violence movement had to be in “getting our house in order.” That we have an obligation to engage in self-inquiry and interrogate the practices that may be causing harm rather than only pointing fingers at other systems that have failed marginalized communities.

Massachusetts - Resisting Mandatory Reporting Expansion: The MA Experience

In this policy brief, Hema Sarang-Sieminski and Adrienne Ramcharan of Jane Doe, Inc, the SV/DV Coalition in Massachusetts provide an overview of their efforts to stop a legislative effort to radically expand mandatory reporting. Starting by articulating why the expansion of mandatory reporting is of concern to DV/SV programs they offer an overview of the situation in Massachusetts, what they did, who they built partnerships with and the outcomes of their efforts. They also include links to reports, testimonies and minutes that would be invaluable to any State Coalition faced with a similar undertaking.

  • “Two most important things” Video Clip – Hema and Adrienne share two things about their process that they want colleagues to know if they are trying to do something similar.

  • Pivot Toward Promising Futures Podcast Episode #3 – Hear an extended interview with Hema and Adrienne reflecting on their process and surprises along the way!

Texas - Reimagining Youth Leadership Engagement

In this report, William West with the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) shares the deliberate process of youth leadership engagement to address the challenges of geography, diversity and sustainability. The efforts of the Prevention Team at TCFV focused on taking leadership from the young people themselves and moving at a pace that enabled their full participation. There were many lessons learned that would be encouraging for coalitions trying to elevate youth leadership. 

  • “Two most important things” Video Clip – William highlights two things you do not want to forget when engaging young people. 

  • Pivot Toward Promising Futures Podcast Episode #6 – Hear an extended interview with William to glean more insights!

Pivot Toward Promising Futures Podcast

Pivot Toward Promising Futures is a new audio series brought to you by Futures Without Violence. In these short podcasts we speak with leaders in the work to end violence against children and in their families. In particular, we explore the myriad ways that systems can be transformed to provide community support to adult and child survivors rather than a punitive response. We prioritize guidance that advances equity and removes barriers to the best possible outcomes for the most marginalized. We see this as a crucial pivot away from institutions and services and toward family and community supports, and ultimately promising futures. Our aim is to generate a national discussion about how we can transform our mindset and practices to holistically improve child and family safety. We hope you will use these podcasts to engage in discussions in your organizations.