Safe & Together
Evidence of model efficacy
The Safe and Together™ model continues to amass a growing body of data to support its positive impact on practice and outcomes for families.
In Ohio, the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy (NCALP), the Healthpath Foundation of Ohio and ODJFS collaborated to conduct a third party evaluation of the Safe and Together trainings in Ohio including the certified trainer model being used to extend Safe and Together training to all 88 Ohio counties. The evaluators, Sheri Chaney Jones and Kenneth Steinman, organized the evaluation around “5 data collection activities: (1) an online pre/posttest survey of 837 CPS caseworkers and supervisors; (2) semi-structured interviews with 16 supervisors; (3) semi-structured interviews with 8 community stakeholders; (4) desk reviews of 191 CPS case files; and (5) review of written policies from 15 counties that had completed Safe and Together training.” They collected data from 12 of the counties trained during 2013, as well as 12 Ohio counties that had participated in Safe and Together training during previous years, and 7 local CPS from AR counties that had not yet participated in the training. To read the full report.
The evaluation showed very positive results demonstrated important, clear and positive movement towards a more domestic violence-informed child welfare system. Consistent with the Safe and Together model, there were changes in child welfare’s practice associated with the entire family (adult survivor, child survivor and perpetrator). The results not only demonstrate significant attitude changes (less victim blaming) towards adult domestic violence survivors, but strong changes in on-the-ground case practice. The desk reviews, interviews and surveys indicated that key child welfare practices such as screening and assessment for coercive control were improved. As a result of the training, child welfare became better at partnering with adult victims in order to assess victims’ protective capacities and efforts to keep children safe. Because the movement toward a domestic violence informed child welfare system requires enhancements in practice related to perpetrators, we were especially pleased with the changes related to case work with perpetrators. Social work staff reported that engagement and interviewing of perpetrators had become more valued. From a practice perspective, perhaps most importantly, the evaluation showed that the participants trained in Safe and Together were able to better assess and document the impact of perpetrators’ patterns of behavior on children.
David Mandel & Associates has been collaborating with both the Florida Coalition for Domestic Violence (FCADV) and the Florida Department of Children and Families for the past seven years. In the last few years, much of this work has focused on supporting FCADV funded co-located domestic violence advocates as part of their CPI Project. These advocates work closely with local DCF staff to provide expert consultation and assistance on domestic violence cases. David Mandel & Associates role in supporting these collaborations involves training co-located advocates, the local DCF staff, Children’s Legal Services and others in the Safe and Together model. The training is supported with technical assistance and follow-up support and coaching for advocates and CPS staff.
Recently the CPI/Safe and Together project site in Northwest Florida reported strong results from this approach. From January 2012 through June 2012, domestic violence related removals represented 20.6% of removals in Bay and Gulf Counties. This was the first six months of the project when co-located advocates were hired and the staff was receiving Safe and Together Model training. During the next six months, from June 2012 to December 2012, the removal rate dropped to 13.6%. For the most recent six month period, January 2013 to June 2013, the removal rate dropped even more to 9.1%.
From July 2011 to June 2012 (which includes the benchmark period of Jan to June 2012), there were 172 verified domestic violence specific maltreatments (Family Violence Threatens Child or FVTC). 11 children in those cases had repeat maltreatments, which mean there were two separate verified reports for FVTC. These children represents five families/five reports of repeat maltreatment. From July 2012 to June 2013, there were 274 verified maltreatments of FVTC. This represents 6 children from four families/four reports of repeat maltreatments.
While this data is only correlative and data collection needs to continue, the increase in verified domestic violence maltreatments (by almost 60%) combined with a serious decrease in removals (over 50%) and a stable raw number of repeat maltreatments is exactly the kind of results we expect to come from improved child welfare practice and community collaboration in domestic violence cases where children are involved.
Local project staff believe these changes are a direct result of this project including the staffing of co-located advocates, implementation of the Safe and Together Model, and enhanced system collaboration between partners such as: FCADV, DCF, the Salvation Army Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Program, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, and the State Attorney’s Office.
This data tracks similar data supplied by the Florida Department of Children and Families for the period when the Safe and Together model was implemented in the Jacksonville area. While not a formal CPI site, this training involved DCF staff, local domestic violence advocacy center staff, Children’s Legal Services and community partners. Over almost a three year period similar efforts in Florida DCF Circuit 4 produced an approximately 70% drop of neglect filings in domestic violence cases and an approximately 50% reduction in removals of children in domestic violence cases.
Circuit 4 Domestic Violence Judicial Action/Out of Home Placement: October 2007-July 2010
David Mandel & Associates has provided general training in the Safe and Together model for the FCADV led and coordinated CPI sites over the last seven years, and provided intensive training and technical assistance for Miami and Immokalee, sites that focus efforts on serving traditionally underserved Latina and Haitian migrant farmworker families. David Mandel & Associates has been providing training and support for co-located advocates projects similar to Florida including effort in New York State, New Jersey and Oregon.
For more information about the CPI project click here or contact Brandy Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 2006 the Connecticut Department of Children and Families has used external domestic violence consultants, employed by community agencies and trained in the Safe and Together™ model, to help them identify, assess, and intervene effectively in cases involving domestic violence. Placed in every child welfare office, these consultants were highly utilized, becoming involved in over 15,000 unique cases over a five-year period.
Beyond the consultants, the Department offered specialized Safe and Together model training to supervisors. These supervisors were surveyed months after the training to determine the impact the training had on their practice. Training was provided at six area offices and the Training Academy, resulting in 88 supervisors trained. Out of those 88 supervisors, 41% responded to the survey. Over a third of those surveyed had been in the training longer than six months earlier. 66% of the respondents identified specific positive changes in their supervisory practice. 62% indicated positive change in their workers’ practice as a result of the training. 50% of the respondents indicated positive changes in outcomes for families. 69% of the respondents indicated continued positive or improved utilization of the Domestic Violence Consultants.
There is also data on the model’s implication for cross system collaboration and supervisory practice. A survey report was produced on the Middletown CT multi-disciplinary team’s (MDT) collaboration on serious domestic violence cases involving children. As the only MDT in the state that regularly processes domestic violence, they originally began this practice as the result of David Mandel’s work with that community. While only the results from one community, the report included very strong responses:
- “100% of respondents indicated that their agency has benefitted from the teaming of serious domestic violence cases.
- “100% of respondents indicated that increased skills and awareness regarding domestic violence positively impacted how they handled sexual and physical abuse cases.”
- “Over 81% of respondents identified that they felt that teaming domestic violence cases resulted in increased safety for families.”
- “Teaming of domestic violence cases at MDT has helped identify service gaps and provide solutions. Due to the inclusion of domestic violence cases being discussed at MDT, team members were able to identify those children in homes, where domestic violence is present, who needed specific supports and services.”
Funded by the Colorado Department of Human Services, David Mandel & Associates delivered a series of three day Safe and Together model trainings for a diverse audience that included large numbers of child welfare staff and domestic violence advocates. Of the 125 people who responded to a survey a few months after the survey, the response was consistent the Connecticut data survey data. 89% rated their experience of the training positive, very positive or excellent. 82% said that the training impacted their practice. 93% said they would recommend the training to a colleague.