Hamilton County Jobs & Family Services Child Welfare Domestic Violence Connection Program
January 2013 – Present
In January 2013, the YWCA partnered with Hamilton County Jobs & Family Services-Children Services to co-locate YWCA experts on domestic violence within Children’s Protective Services. YWCA and JFS staff designed a program using the Safe & Together Model® (Mandel 2007) to promote children are safe and together with the non-offending parent and that people who do harm are provided an opportunity to make behavioral changes. The YWCA has four full-time domestic violence experts co-located at JFS, and plans are underway to expand staffing to six in 2016. Services include consultation, assessment, direct services, and training.
The YWCA Child Welfare Domestic Violence Connection Program was designed utilizing the Safe & Together Model with emphasis on the critical components:
- From the perspective of safety, stability, and healing from trauma, it is in the best interest of the child to remain safe and together with the non-offending domestic violence survivor.
- A partnership with the non-offending domestic violence survivor is the most effective way to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of a child in a family with domestic violence.
- A partnership with a non-offending domestic violence survivor needs to be based on a comprehensive assessment of her active efforts to promote the safety and well-being of the children.
- Child welfare agencies can improve outcomes for children and families by increasing their capacity to intervene with domestic violence perpetrators.
YWCA co-located staff implements the above principles by identifying the critical elements of a case:
- The domestic violence perpetrator’s pattern of coercive control
- Specific behaviors the perpetrator engaged in to harm the children
- Full-spectrum of the survivor’s efforts to promote safety and well-being of the children
- The adverse impact of the perpetrator’s behavior on the children
- Other factors including substance abuse, mental health, and cultural and socioeconomic factors that might affect domestic violence
The Co-located team developed the program utilizing the Safe & Together Model including the referral and consultation process, direct service delivery including survivor and perpetrator assessments, court report templates, the release of information, surveys, and data collection. All programmatic tools were reviewed by ODVN. The YWCA has six Intervention Coordinators co-located at HCJFS who provide advocacy-based services to support families experiencing intimate partner violence.