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What Happens When We Invest in Children Impacted by Domestic Violence?

Findings from the Inaugural Cohort of SSAPC Demonstration Grantees

Between 2016-2020, approximately $20 Million was appropriated for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Discretionary Grant: Specialized Services to Abused Parents and their Children (SSAPC). The 12 funded projects piloted innovations to strengthen system responses, improve capabilities to serve domestic violence (DV) impacted children and youth, alleviate DV related trauma impacts among child and adult survivors, and deepen relationships between children/youth and parents.

Promising Futures, a project of Futures Without Violence was funded as the national capacity building center and was the primary technical assistance provider to the SSAPC grantees. Following the end of the first demonstration grant, Promising Futures undertook a systematic review and abbreviated outcome harvest of annual progress and evaluation reports with support from Strategic Prevention Solutions. This infographic
provides an overview, and examples, of the changes experienced by children and families and across the DV serving ecosystem that are attributable to grantees’ strategies, efforts, and actions throughout the grant period.

Grantees and their partners:

  • SAFE Alliance, TX

  • Foothill Family Service, CA

  • Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc., AK

  • Maine Behavioral Healthcare, ME

  • Domestic Violence Action Center, HI

  • Texas Council on Family Violence, TX

  • Boston Medical Center Corporation, MA

  • Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, KY

  • Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, AK

  • Durham County Department of Social Services, NC

  • Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, ID

  • Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, KS

Centered parent and child survivors' healing by delivering services that were...

  • Evidence-Informed

  • Culturally Relevant

  • Developmentally Appropriate

  • Trauma-Informed

...and found programming successfully...

  • Addressed inequities and enhanced cultural relevance

  • Established collaborative, enduring partnerships across systems

  • Fostered supportive, trusting and warm relationships with families and providers

  • Improved access and capacity for effective DV service delivery and trauma-informed practices

Increased safety and healing for parents and their children impacted by DV

Through practice innovation, grantees demonstrated measurable outcomes for child and parent relationships.

Due to the diversity of strategies implemented by grantees, the following is proportionate evidence of this outcome.

Sustained and/or expanded reach, services, and information and referral to DV impacted families

  • Provided referrals and resources enhancing access

  • Expanded access to DV specific mental health treatment services for families

  • Safety, support, advocacy, and guidance programming delivered to over 5,400+ children

Strengthened relationship quality between parents and their children

  • Youth reported increases in comfort talking to their parents

  • Increased parental self awareness of how DV impacted their family

Youth had greater social support and felt less blame for violence in their family

  • Youth more likely to get help when feeling scared

  • Youth reported benefits from mentorship relationships

  • Children were less likely to blame themselves for the violence

Parents gained knowledge and confidence with their parenting

  • Parents reported gains in knowledge about how to help their children heal

  • Parents reported increase in knowledge and skills related to positive parenting practices

  • Accessed positive and protective parenting and DV supports

Parents felt better able to keep their families safer

  • Parents reported confidence in planning for their child’s safety

  • Increased number of providers conducting safety planning processes with parents and child survivors

Grantees Implemented Changes to their Response to Families Experiencing DV

Grantees and their community partners implemented policy, practice, and environmental changes to prioritize the safety of families. Transformations and enhancements were trauma-informed, resulting in better access, increased safety, and assistance.

Proportion of grantees documenting evidence of this outcome.

Fostered safe and supportive physical environments

  • Institutionalized Safe Rooms in court buildings

  • Updated common spaces to better meet families’ needs

Enhanced the cultural responsiveness of evidence-based approaches

  • Hired bilingual & bi-cultural providers increasing language access for programming and training

  • Created culturally specific materials and support groups

  • Developed cultural adaptations of evidence-based models

Organizational practice changes emphasized accountability for abusive partners and keeping families together, safely

  • Supported safe reunification and reduced foster care placement

  • Established and offered new programs for people who use violence

  • Trained child welfare staff to improve responses to DV

Strengthened Overall Community Ecosystem to Respond to Families Experiencing DV

Grantees worked with local agencies and experts to increase internal capacity and expand access to culturally relevant programming. Intentional partnering across systems equipped professionals to better identify and respond to families.

Proportion of grantees documenting evidence of this outcome.

Strengthened relationships to grow equitable and accessible DV programming

  • Expanded cross-sector learning collaboratives

  • Convened and trained community and state-wide leaders

  • Increased access to services through new and improved referral systems

Expanded DV advocacy, staffing, and family-serving capacity

  • Implemented 24-hour text and chat lines

  • Trained providers in DV specific evidence-based therapeutic interventions

  • Utilized co-located DV advocates in non-traditional settings

  • Institutionalized child specific staffing positions and children’s programming

Improved provider wellness

  • 1,000+ staff trained in trauma-informed responses

  • Increased trauma-informed supervision for staff working with families

  • Enhanced organizational strategies to address secondary trauma

Promoted safety & increased culturally responsive services through effective CQI practices

  • Used feedback from families on accessibility, relevance, and gaps in services and made changes as needed

  • Hosted listening sessions with Indigenous and culturally specific communities

  • Increased the use of relationship-based universal education strategies instead of screening

Increased collaboration and provider skill in mitigating the impacts of DV on families

  • Child serving providers gained understanding, knowledge, and confidence

  • Increased knowledge of the effects of experiencing DV on children and strategies to support healing and resilience

We know that the SSAPC inaugural grantees improved services available to families impacted by DV through the use of…

Fostered an healing ecosystem that prioritized the needs of parents and children - Graphic