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THE SAFE AND TOGETHER MODEL: USING THE SAFE AND TOGETHER MODEL FOR COMMUNITY BASED CARE ORGANIZATIONS KRISTEN SELLECK, MSW DAVID MANDEL & ASSOCIATES LLC.

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Presentation on theme: "THE SAFE AND TOGETHER MODEL: USING THE SAFE AND TOGETHER MODEL FOR COMMUNITY BASED CARE ORGANIZATIONS KRISTEN SELLECK, MSW DAVID MANDEL & ASSOCIATES LLC."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE SAFE AND TOGETHER MODEL: USING THE SAFE AND TOGETHER MODEL FOR COMMUNITY BASED CARE ORGANIZATIONS KRISTEN SELLECK, MSW DAVID MANDEL & ASSOCIATES LLC SEPTEMBER 2011

2 MAJOR RECENT, CURRENT, UPCOMING PROJECTS Statewide Service Administration (CT DCF): DV Consultants Subject Matter Expert Training (FL DCF)  Gainesville  Jacksonville  Lake City CLS Training (FL DCF) Safe and Together Advocate Training (FCADV) All Child Welfare Supervisors (LA) Safe and Together Supervisor Training (KC MO) Alternative Response Pilot (OH) : Train the Trainers

3 INTERSECTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND OTHER CHILD WELFARE CONCERNS Substance abuse A US study reports that 60% of women accessing drug or alcohol services (n = 360) reported current or past domestic abuse. A Yale trauma study showed that abused women are 15 times more likely to use alcohol and 9 times more likely to use drugs than non- abused women. Findings from a review of the British Crime Surveys revealed that 44% of domestic violence offenders were under the influence of alcohol and 12% affected by drugs when they committed acts of physical violence. A number of studies have found that the perpetrators use of alcohol, particularly heavy drinking, was likely to result in more serious injury to their partners than if they had been sober. Mental Health Multiple studies have documented the correlation between domestic violence and higher rates of depression, anxiety and PTSD for women. Most domestic violence perpetrators do not appear to have Axis I or II diagnoses. Interactions between domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues Domestic violence survivors who have mental health and/or substance abuse issues are more vulnerable. Domestic violence perpetrators may sabotage his partner’s efforts at recovery or help seeking and use her issues to maintain control.

4 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS CONCERN AND A CONTEXT ConcernContext

5 PATHWAYS TO HARM Abuse by perpetrator Towards non- offending parent Direct abuse or neglect of child Abuse of siblings Effect on partner’s parenting Depression/PTSD/a nxiety/substance abuse Loss of authority Energy goes to addressing perpetrator instead of children Interference with day to day routine and basic care Effects on family ecology Loss of income Housing instability Loss of contact with extended family Educational and social disruptions Harm to child

6 SAFE AND TOGETHER ASSUMPTIONS: POLICY Child Welfare (and others) need DV competencies  Distinct from but complements cross system collaboration  Child welfare can benefit from good relationships with and the expertise of domestic violence advocates Child Welfare has distinct and unique role 95% alignment Double standards around gender can benefit domestic violence perpetrators

7 SAFE AND TOGETHER ASSUMPTIONS: PRACTICE Batterers can harm children Child safety and risk assessment flows first and foremost from an understanding of the perpetrator’s tactics  NOT from focusing on where people are living or the status of the relationship Better assessment trumps empathy as tool Principles and critical components of Safe and Together provide a framework for case practice and cross system collaboration

8 SAFE AND TOGETHER MODEL AssumptionsPrincipals Critical Components Better Outcomes for Families

9 SAFE AND TOGETHER™ PRINCIPLES (C) 2011 DAVID MANDEL & ASSOCIATES LLC FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE SAFE AND TOGETHER™ MODEL, GO TO Keeping child Safe and Together™ with non-offending parent Safety Healing from trauma Stability and nurturance Partnering with non-offending parent as default position Efficient Effective Child-centered Intervening with perpetrator to reduce risk and harm to child Engagement Accountability Courts

10 Perpetrator’s pattern of coercive control Actions taken by the perpetrator to harm the child Full spectrum of the non-offending parent’s efforts to promote the safety and well being of the child Adverse impact of the perpetrator’s behavior on the child Role of substance abuse, mental health, culture and other socio-economic factors SAFE AND TOGETHER™ CRITICAL COMPONENTS

11 ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE BATTERER TO HARM THE CHILDREN Choosing to expose them to their abusive behavior Using children as a weapon against the children's other parent Undermining the other person's parenting efforts Accidentally causing physical harm to children as a result of the violence towards non-offending parent Physical/sexual/e motional abuse or neglect perpetrated directly against the children

12  Do not lump batterer and survivor together. Avoid phrases like – “Couple engages in violence” – “Parents have a history of domestic violence” – “Parents both deny the violence.”  Precise & descriptive – Avoid euphemisms or vague terms like “argued” if what you mean is “hit” – Describe the pattern: “father has engaged in an escalating pattern of physical violence and intimidation that involved multiple incidents of physical assault, threats to kill the mother and her children.”  Affirm the perpetrator’s role in harming the children through his actions – “These behaviors have isolated the mother from her support system, the children from relatives and led to them moving school systems and residences twice in the past year (as a result of evictions).”  Avoid blaming the victim for the perpetrator’s violent and abusive behavior  Language to avoid: – Dysfunctional” family – Mother “allows” or “enables” the violence – Mother “failed to protect” the children EXAMPLES OF DOCUMENTATION RECOMMENDATIONS

13 Use language that focuses on the perpetrator’s role in creating harm or risk to the children. Example: “Despite the mother’s efforts to protect the children, the perpetrator is creating conditions injurious and harmful to the children.” (CT Collaborative)‏ RECOMMENDED ALTERNATIVE TO “FAILURE TO PROTECT” LANGUAGE

14 ASSESSING CHILD WELFARE SKILLS REQUIRED TO PARTNER WITH SURVIVORS Ability to introduce child welfare’s concerns in a non-blaming way. Assessing/listening for her strengths as it relates to day to day safety and well being efforts Validating her strengths Collaboratively developing a safety plan Developing a case plan that supports her needs/doesn’t set her up to fail/helps her Working collaboratively with victim services Presenting survivors strengths to supervisor and/or team (who may be less than sympathetic) Making appropriate referrals to substance abuse, mental health and in-home service providers Developing a petition that focuses on the domestic violence perpetrator as the source of the safety concerns

15 STRENGTHS BASED APPROACH TO NON-OFFENDING PARENT Develop case plan based on the strengths Validating her strengths builds partnership Does not mandate unnecessary services Assess survivor’s strengths as they relate to the children Prior traditional and non- traditional safety planning Day to day care of the children Positive impact on children Full spectrum of the survivor’s efforts to promote the safety and well being of the children Goes beyond “yardstick” of LE, Injunction, Leave Avoids double standard around mothers and fathers

16 BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH SURVIVORS  How good are your workers in building partnerships with survivors around the safety of the children? ◦ How are they framing the Department’s concerns around child safety to the survivor? ◦ How are they asking questions to assess her strengths around safety and well being? ◦ Are they able to take a non-blaming approach to the survivor? ◦ Are they validating her strengths? ◦ Can they work collaboratively with the survivor to develop a plan for the child’s safety?

17 EFFICIENT, EFFECTIVE SAFETY PLANNING  Requires knowledge about batterer’s pattern of behavior  Builds on survivor’s efforts  Developed in collaboration with survivor  Might include going to shelter, calling police, getting injunction ◦ BUT does not rely exclusive on those three things  Includes informal resources (friends, family, employer)  Attempts to account for other critical child’s needs like stability  Whatever plan, it needs to be well documented

18 EXAMPLE OF CASE PLANNING PRACTICE ASSOCIATED WITH PARTNERING WITH THE NON-OFFENDING PARENT  Don’ts ◦ “Ms. Smith agrees not to engage in further domestic violence.” ◦ “Ms. Smith will not violate the restraining order against Mr. Smith” ◦ “Ms. Smith will ensure that Mr. Smith will have no further contact with the child. ”  Do’s ◦ If Mr. Smith begins to escalate his threats or intimidation, Ms. Smith will report concerns to the Department. ◦ Ms. Smith will continue to work with her domestic violence advocate to modify her safety plan as necessary. ◦ Ms. Smith will discuss with her mother a plan for moving in with her if there are new concerns of violence. ◦ Ms. Smith will report any violations of Mr. Smith’s restraining order to law enforcement and the Department. ◦ If Mr. Smith is violent, Ms. Smith will implement the agreed upon safety plan for herself and her children. This involves taking the children to stay with her mother until she can contact her DCF worker.

19 SAFE AND TOGETHER TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE Training Child Welfare Community Service Providers Domestic Violence Advocates CourtOthers Development of Domestic Violence Specialists Intensive domestic violence trainings Training in consultation Technical Assistance Needs Assessment Review of protocols and practices Facilitation of cross system dialog Mentoring Online Training Coming in 2011

20 FOR MORE INFORMATION David Mandel & Associates LLC Ph:


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