2023 Safe & Together™ Model North American Conference
Join us September 20-22, 2023, in Albuquerque, New Mexico!
|Register for the 2023 North American Conference Only – Virtual Attendance (Thursday + Friday)
|Register for the 2023 Safe & Together Model North American Conference (Thursday + Friday) & Pre-Conference (Wednesday)
|Register for the 2023 Safe & Together Model North Conference Only (Thursday + Friday)
|Register for the Pre-Conference ONLY (Wednesday)
|Take advantage of our special group rates! Click here to register individuals and groups.
Purchase 5 registrations, and get the 6th FREE. Click here.
**Recordings will be available to all registrants for on-demand viewing for 6 months following the live conference**
Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque
- To book your room at our special group rate, click here.
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- If you are a government employee, you may be eligible for a discounted room rate at our hotel. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about availability and rates. Limited rooms are available at a discounted rate, so act quickly.
OVW has conditionally approved grantees from Disabilities, State Coalition, STOP and the Underserved programs to attend this conference. Grantees must submit a Grant Award Modification (GAM) requesting approval to use their OVW travel funds to attend this conference. A GAM must be completed before grantees commit or expend any funds related to attending this conference. The reference number for this conference is OVW-2023-MU-055. This number must be used by grantees when requesting approval to attend the conference. This approval and assigned reference number is for this conference only.
Conference Welcome To Country address: Cedric Chavez, President, New Mexico Indian Council On Aging, Pueblo of Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico
Masterclass: Applying a Perpetrator Pattern-Based Approach in Family Court Context
Family courts are charged with balancing child safety with meaningful relationships with both parents. What does this mean in the context of domestic violence? In many instances, courts are not clearly presented with the perpetrators’ patterns and the specifics of the harm it has caused, and emphasis on collaborative parenting can work against the best interests of children in these cases. Drawing on work in family court settings in the United States and Australia, David Mandel, Executive Director and Founder of the Safe & Together Institute, will explore how the Model can be applied in the family court context. This workshop will look at the difference between risk and harm frameworks; the importance of understanding post-separation coercive control and the targeting of professionals and systems as part of perpetrators’ patterns; how to best understand and contextualize protective parenting behaviors; the centrality of a behavioral approach to objectivity and neutrality; and how to increase accountability for perpetrators as parents in the family court context. (This is not an introductory class. While not required, prior knowledge of the Safe & Together Model is beneficial.)
Masterclass: Using Coaching to Increase Effective Practice and System Change
Heidi Rankin, Associate Director, Safe & Together Institute + Shelly Napoletano Flynn, Trainer Certification Program Manager, Safe & Together Institute
Coaching can dramatically increase individual practitioners’ capacity for applying learned skills and tools in their day-to-day practice, as well as help to create a shared language, framework, and practice across agencies, which promotes systems change. In this workshop specifically designed for Safe & Together Model™ Certified Trainers, participants will learn how to take their expertise in domestic violence-informed practice from the classroom to one-on-one and small-group consultations within their agencies. Participants will learn to promote practitioners’ critical thinking, risk and safety assessment, appropriate case planning recommendations, and overall best practices in domestic violence cases. The workshop will also focus on how Certified Trainers can coach workers in using Safe & Together Model™ tools, such as the Perpetrator Pattern Mapping Tool and the STIM Protocol, in advancing skill and knowledge development that can be applied across a range of cases as well as support practitioners in complex cases with high levels of trauma and safety issues. (This session is for Safe & Together Model™ Certified Trainers).
Masterclass: An Introduction to the Safe & Together Model
Leah Vejzovic, North American Regional Manager, Safe & Together Institute
In this master class, participants will be introduced to the Principles, Critical Components, and other key aspects of the paradigm-shifting Safe & Together Model. Participants will learn how the Model’s concepts, skills and tools can transform individual practice, agencies’ culture and systems, and cross-sector collaboration. Learn about partnering with survivors, keeping children safe and intervening with perpetrators as parents. Participants are guaranteed to leave the session with new practices they can implement immediately. (This session is appropriate for professionals from any sector.)
KEYNOTES ARE INCLUDED IN THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE PACKAGE
KEYNOTE: “Why does she keep choosing him over her children?” How to stop blaming mothers, ignoring fathers and fix the way we keep children safe from domestic violence
We live in a world where, consistently, mothers are still blamed for the harm violent fathers create for children and families. Fathers’ behaviors and choices, positive and negative, and their impact on child and family functioning, are underappreciated or outright ignored. As part of the prelaunch of his forthcoming book, “Why does she keep choosing him over her children?” David Mandel, creator of the Safe & Together Model, will examine some of the professional “myths” that interfere with societal and systemic change and some of the steps to fix the systems charged with keeping children safe from domestic violence.
KEYNOTE: “The Last Drop”: A Sci-Fi Film Designed to Educate Young People About Coercive Control
Adam Joel + Ruth Reymundo Mandel
The Last Drop is a short sci-fi film about relationship abuse inspired by the memories of real survivors. A young woman links minds with her boyfriend to relive their favorite shared memories— but when she spots overlooked signs of abuse, she must escape before he can manipulate her memories in his favor. The film is designed to fill the glaring gap in educational material about coercive control for young people. Ruth Reymundo Mandel, the Safe & Together Institute’s Communication and Strategic Relationship Manager, and writer/director, Adam Joel, discuss the ground-breaking elements of the film, including:
– the power of storytelling to connect and empower survivors. Writer/Director, Adam Joel, will share the communal storytelling method he used to combine his own experience as a survivor with input from other survivors and experts.
– the innovative choice to use science fiction to reach younger audiences and highlight the hidden signs of coercive control.
– the partnership between S&TI (an Executive Producer of The Last Drop) and the filmmakers to distribute this film to the people who need it most.
Join us to learn how The Last Drop could be a powerful learning tool and conversation starter for your work in the field of abuse prevention, education, social work, and more!
KEYNOTES ARE INCLUDED IN THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE PACKAGE
KEYNOTE: Responding Effectively to Coercive Control
Dr Emma Katz
This Keynote will explore the new, innovative work that is taking place around coercive control. Coercive control is a severe but often hidden form of abuse. It involves situations where a perpetrator subjects their partner or family member to persistent, wide-ranging controlling behaviour over a long period of time and makes it clear that standing up for themselves will be punished. By repeatedly punishing their partner/family member for non-compliance, the perpetrator intends to demoralise and terrorise them into a state of permanent obedience, stripping them of their ability to freely participate in their communities and to make basic choices for themselves. Coercive controllers use multiple tactics of abuse, and every tactic harms the lives of any children in the family as well as the lives of adult victim-survivors. The experiences of adults and children subjected to coercive control are highly similar, and children and adults should be considered co-victims and co-survivors.
After exploring the dynamics and tactics of coercive control and their impacts on victims-survivors, this Keynote will emphasise the following points: it is the abuser, not the relationship, that is the cause of the abuse, and it is the abuser who is responsible for the harms experienced by any children in the family. Perpetrators are making a parenting choice to have their child grow up in a family dominated by coercive control. Responses to domestic abuse by systems and individual professionals must identify the abuser’s pattern of abusive behaviour as the source of the danger and harm. Because separation rarely brings about safety for the adult and child survivors, and most coercive controllers are determined to continue their coercive control post-separation, responses to abusers must focus on meaningfully disrupting and blocking the abuser’s willingness and ability to continue to be abusive. Both adult and child victims and survivors require not only meaningful safety from the abuser but also the freedom, support and resources to make their own choices and to thrive in the aftermath of abuse.
KEYNOTE: The Invalidated Protective Capacity of the Black Woman Survivor: Why don’t her points ever count?
Looking at protective capacity from the lens of the Black woman in America to understand:
• Her specific barriers
• Where those barriers historically began
• How those barriers are solid today
• What they mean to her approach to DV
• How educated systems can change that narrative
Keynote: The Four Pillars of “Failure to Protect” Culture
David Mandel, Executive Director, Safe & Together Institute
“Failure to Protect” culture holds mothers responsible for the behaviors of their abusive male partners. These practices are inefficient, ineffective, unfair and unethical. Drawing from his upcoming book “Why does she keep choosing him over her children,” David Mandel outlines “failure to protect culture,” its limitations and impact, and his suggestions for ending the use of “failure to protect” in domestic violence cases.
Implementation of Safe & Together Beyond the Classroom: New York State’s strategy to transform child welfare practice and broader systems change
THIS SESSION IS INCLUDED IN THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE PACKAGE
Candace Calabrese, OCFS Safe & Together Practice Implementation Manager, NYS OCFS + Bethani Whiting, OCFS Safe & Together Practice Implementation Lead, NYS OCFS
In New York State, domestic violence is the highest occurring risk factor identified in our child welfare cases. Adding to its complexity, domestic violence often intersects with substance abuse, mental health issues, housing instability, physical and sexual abuse and other neglect issues. Identifying the urgent need for a shift in our child welfare practice and cross-system collaboration, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) sought to implement a comprehensive practice model and practical tools for the field in its response to families experiencing domestic violence perpetration. Being a state oversight, a locally administered child welfare system of 62 counties would require a great deal of planning, partnership, and support.
Having worked in partnership with the Safe & Together Institute on a multiyear pilot project to support our federally funded CPS/DV Collaborations, OCFS was aware of the Safe & Together model’s success. The overwhelmingly positive feedback and measurable impact on systems collaboration and practice from those who implemented the model is what led OCFS to start implementation of Safe & Together statewide.
In 2020, OCFS became a Partner Agency with the Safe & Together Institute to develop its own certified trainers to deliver the Safe and Together Model training to child welfare staff, domestic violence program staff, and other child-serving systems to build knowledge and capacity for improved domestic violence practice and systems response. This workshop will share our strategies, challenges, lessons learned and feedback from the field to date.
Douglas County, Nebraska’s Journey to Systemic Change
Katie Hansen, Director, Harmony Project
The focus of this presentation will be Douglas County (Omaha), Nebraska’s journey to identify a need for systemic change when working with child welfare cases involving domestic violence. This presentation will show the progression of how Douglas County, Nebraska, identified gaps in services for perpetrators, survivors and their children, brought the Safe & Together CORE Training to Omaha, and how we are currently implementing the Safe & Together Model in our community. We will focus on how we overcame funding barriers and went about getting buy-in from get key stakeholders in order to create this paradigm shift in the way we work with survivors of domestic violence and their children, with the CORE Training being at the center of this shift. This presentation will also highlight how local agencies who completed the CORE Training are now implementing the model in their daily work with perpetrators, survivors and their children. We will conclude the presentation with some potential strategies to complete our goal for statewide implementation of the Model.
Caring Dads: An intervention for child maltreatment and domestic violence. Helping Fathers Value their Children
Sarah Webb, Global Enterprise Manager, Caring Dads
This Caring Dads workshop is an opportunity for professionals to explore best practices when working with fathers who cause harm to their families. This workshop will include an overview of “What is the Caring Dads program” as well as front-line practice tools to learn how to engage abusive fathers to change their behaviors through a domestic violence-informed lens. The Caring Dads program principles align with the Safe & Together Model principles, and this workshop will demonstrate how Caring Dads “pivots towards the perpetrator (dad) while partnering with the survivors (mom and children).” The number one goal of the Caring Dads program is safety to children and helping fathers remember “you can’t be a good father and a disrespectful abusive partner.”
The Safe & Together Book – Interviewing survivors and practitioners
THIS SESSION IS INCLUDED IN THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE PACKAGE
Deb Nicholson and David Mandel
When David Mandel first envisioned writing the Safe & Together book – “Stop Blaming Mothers and Ignoring Fathers” – he couldn’t imagine not including the voices of survivors who have been impacted both by perpetrators’ behaviors and the response of systems. Nor could he leave out the voices of practitioners whose work has been transformed by the Safe & Together Model and who are championing its game-changing approach around the world. David believes that the Model is nothing without the practitioners who practice it, nor can its effectiveness be truly measured without hearing from survivors impacted by professionals’ use of the Model. Early in the book’s development, David decided to interview practitioners and survivors to hear their stories and their impressions of the Model. Over a period of three months in 2022, Deb Nicholson interviewed practitioners and survivors from Australia, the UK and the USA. In this workshop, David and Deb discuss the methodology and results of the interviews and what this might mean for the future development of the Model.
Sacred in the System: Skill Development for Professionals Called to Support Children & Families Living with DV
Beth Ann Morhardt, Beth Ann Morhardt Collaborations, LLC
After decades of supporting children & families living with DV and facilitating S&TI professional development for those tasked with providing services for these families, the truest takeaway has been the honor it is to be chosen as the trusted listener. Sacred in the System evolved through showing up authentically for Self & others in ways and with skills that create an environment of true collaboration. This workshop will provide S&TI DV Informed language, along with SITS knowledge, examples & tools to encourage the self-reflection & relational support needed to honor human/spiritual exchanges while holding difficult conversations rooted in dignity & respect. Without honoring the Sacred, we miss the opportunity to support adults & children as they walk their life paths in ways that are safer & allow for more positive well-being. By combining DV Informed Practice with sacred practices, we are able to be more fully present in our work & begin to create a systematic shift that will increase the likelihood of more positive outcomes for those we are fortunate enough to support.
Introducing a 360-degree holistic approach to working with families: prevention, support & healing
Rhonda Dagg, Program Specialist, General CFS Authority + Lisa Schmidt, Program Specialist, General CFS Authority
In this workshop, you will learn about the General Authority’s (GA) new comprehensive multi-year strategy to respond to domestic violence. For the past eight years, the GA has been championing the use of Safe and Together. This model is now embedded as a key component of our overall practice approach. We are encouraged by the increase in staff skill development and confidence in working with families. Based on what we learned, we embarked on a broader strategy to more effectively respond to families affected by domestic violence. The heart of our strategy is to, in partnership with other government branches and community partners, expand the availability of Safe and Together training beyond Child and Family Services (CFS).
We have partnered with Caring Dads since 2017. Our goal is to increase the availability of the program by supporting the development of facilitators within and outside the CFS system. Caring Dads in our communities helps us in our preventive efforts to support dads in their parenting. We are also introducing a therapeutic playgroup, new to Manitoba, for mothers and their children who have experienced trauma. For children an
d youth, we are developing resources and programs.
Come and learn about our comprehensive strategy and how we implemented Safe and Together within our safety-organized practice model, including Family Finding/Seeing and Network Facilitation. Our multi-year strategy is inclusive in that it focuses on all the key people in the family and those that support them: perpetrator, survivor, child, worker, network and community. We are excited to share what we have learned with you.
Using the Web-Based Perpetrator Pattern Mapping Tool to Embed Safe & Together into Your Agency
THIS SESSION IS INCLUDED IN THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE PACKAGE
Heidi Rankin, Associate Director, Safe & Together Institute + Leah Vejzovic, North America Regional Manager, Safe & Together Institute
For years, practitioners have depended on the Safe & Together Institute Perpetrator Pattern Mapping Tool to change practice and change lives of adult and child domestic violence survivors. In the past, access to the tool required attendance in our CORE training. No longer. After a two-year development process, the Safe & Together Institute has launched a web-based version of the tool that is immediately accessible online to any practitioner. This workshop will provide an overview of the new version of the tool and its applications. The workshop will highlight how key aspects of the tool, including new content; built-in coaching and fidelity checks; and how its use supports the implementation of the Model and systems change.
Systems Change: Using Implementation Strategy to Create Real Domestic Violence-Informed Change
David Mandel, Executive Director, Safe & Together Institute
More to come!
Moving Beyond Failure to Protect: NM CYFD Protective Services Dona Ana County’s Journey to Transform the Child Welfare & Domestic Violence Response
THIS SESSION IS INCLUDED IN THE VIRTUAL CONFERENCE PACKAGE
Marianne Hernandez-Jimenez, County Office Manager, New Mexico CYFD + Tommi Fisher, Investigations Supervisor, NM CYFD + Brenda Flores, Investigations Supervisor, NM CYFD + Flor Gonzalez, Director of Support Services, La Casa, Inc + Nubia Martinez, Housing Director, La Casa, Inc
Families dually impacted by domestic violence and child maltreatment deserve a coordinated community response between domestic violence and child protective service providers that keeps children safe and together with the survivor parent whenever possible and intervenes directly with the perpetrating parent to address their harmful behavior. Historically, the opposite has occurred. Through “failure to protect” policies and practices, the child welfare system has held the survivor parent responsible for child safety in the context of the perpetrator’s coercive control. Meanwhile, domestic violence service providers have struggled to effectively intervene to promote child safety, family wellbeing, and rehabilitation for perpetrating parents. With training and technical assistance from the Safe & Together Institute, La Casa, Inc. and CYFD Protective Services in Dona Ana County have embarked on a collaborative partnership to improve health and safety outcomes among children and families experiencing domestic violence and child protective services involvement in southern New Mexico. This session outlines the mission and theory of change based on key tenets of the Safe & Together Model; how key practices within both agencies have improved to better meet the needs of children and families from a strength-based and trauma-informed lens; and implementation and sustainability considerations for communities who are interested in embarking on similar partnerships.
Safe & Healthy Families Court: Nebraska’s Framework for DV-Informed Practice Incorporating Safe & Together Principles
Pamela Jordan, Program Evaluator, Center or Children, Families & the Law + Elizabeth Buhr, Children & Family Services Administrator, Children & Family Services + Elise White, Judge, Separate Juvenile Court of Lancaster County + Lindsey Turner, Program Services Director, Voices of Hope
Nebraska child welfare stakeholders come together to showcase the development of the “Safe and Healthy Families Court” team (SHFC) in Lancaster County, Nebraska. SHFC and this multi-disciplinary team are creating and experiencing a paradigm shift in how child welfare cases involving domestic violence are approached in their county utilizing the Safe and Together (S&T) model/practices. The presentation will first analyze the history of the project and how S&T principles support and enhance the work. Secondly, we justify the application of a Problem-Solving Court framework to domestic violence child welfare cases that complement the S&T model’s focus on community partnership. Thirdly, we propose strategies for engaging key stakeholders through training in the S & T Model so the whole team of court professionals involved shares the vision and mission for change. Finally, we share evaluation data from SHFC and two comparison groups that demonstrate positive changes for families that are part of SHFC.
Self Care for Practitioners: Using the Concept of Partnering with Survivors to Promote Worker Health and Well-Being
David Mandel and Ruth Reymundo Mandel
Working with domestic violence means professionals come into contact daily with complex & challenging trauma. The Safe & Together Model’s concept of Partnering with Survivors offers an efficient, effective, ethical and safe way to engage protective parents. Working with domestic violence survivors may confront professionals with their own prior experiences, uncover where their strengths or needs were not acknowledged and can even trigger their own experiences of trauma.
In this workshop, participants will:
- Learn the six steps of Partnering
- Discuss the following questions:
- What is my experience with being partnered with in my own life?
- What are the values, practices and personal responsibilities associated with partnering?
- What strengths do I bring to the partnering process?
- What judgments do I have that get in the way of partnering?
- What beliefs and experiences have I had that make it hard for me to partner with survivors?
- What do I need to change in my attitudes and beliefs so I can most effectively partner with survivors?
As a result of this workshop, participants will be better prepared to partner with survivors and also learn how the partnering process can support the healing and nourishment for practitioners & workers as well.
From Parent-Centered to Child-Centered – Engaging Incarcerated Fathers in Conversations Towards Accountability
Michael Bautista, Manager, Fathering for the Future, Families Matter Society of Calgary
The need for parenting support for those that identify as fathers or male caregivers is an important factor when looking through the scope of promoting child well-being and positive family functioning. This is especially so for fathers that have engaged in behaviors that have put the needs of their children at risk.
Tommi Fisher received her Bachelor of Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University in 2009. She has been with Children’s Youth and Families Department since 2015. She currently is in the role of Investigations Supervisor and held positions of Senior Investigator, Investigator and Foster and Adoption Recruiter. Previously Ms. Fisher worked as a Crime Victim Advocate with Las Cruces Police Department from 2010-2015. She has attended numerous seminars related to Child Abuse and Victim Advocacy throughout her career and is Credentialed Victim Advocate through the National Organization for Victim Assistance. She participated in the first NM Safe and Together Kickstarter Project for Protective Services and La Casa, Inc. in 2022. Along with her peers at PS and La Casa, Inc. leadership, Ms. Fisher presented on the Project at the 2023 NM Children’s Law Institute and the 2023 NM NASW Conference.
Michael Bautista (he/him) is the Manager of the Fathering for the Future program with Families Matter Society of Calgary. This specific portfolio is dedicated to work and engagement with those that identify as fathers/male caregivers. With a Degree in Child Studies from Mount Royal University, Michael has been with the agency for 16 years. He has worked in various capacities including early childhood education, youth programming, one-to-one home visitation and group facilitation.
Lisa SchmidtProgram Specialist at the General Authority Child and Family
Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba. She began her career as an abuse investigator with Child and Family Services starting in 1996. Throughout the years, she has worked in front line child protection, worked with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and has been a Program Specialist at the General Authority Child and Family since 2009. As part of this role, Lisa has been able to participate in the development and support of new and innovative child welfare practice approaches and values working with agencies to improve service delivery to Manitoba families.
Sarah Webb MSW RSW
Sarah Webb MSW RSW currently works with Caring Dads as the Global Enterprise Manager as well as the Trainer for North America. Previously, Sarah worked 15 years in the Child Welfare system as a Child Protection Worker. While working in child welfare Sarah worked on a specialized Domestic Violence Team conducting child protection investigations and worked closely with the Violence Against Women sector.
Rhonda Dagg, born and raised in Manitoba, obtained her Bachelors of Science (1995) and Bachelors of Social Work (1997) degrees from the United States of America. For 25 years, she has worked for the Government of Manitoba in a variety of roles including front line worker, supervisor, business analyst and Leading Practice Specialist. In 2019, Rhonda was thrilled to join the Safe and Together Institute as a faculty member.
Rhonda loves having the opportunity to think outside the box and to create training and educational material for staff and the community that is fun, thought provoking and inspiring. Rhonda is an advocate for families affected by domestic violence, and a strong supporter of staff who work with these families. Due to her passion of supporting children affected by domestic abuse she became a published author on the topic and attends classrooms and conferences to speak about relationships.
Lindsey TurnerAssociate Executive Director at Voices of Hope
Lindsey Turner is the Associate Executive Director at Voices of Hope, a crisis center for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking, stalking and other forms of abuse in Lincoln, NE. Lindsey has been with Voices of Hope for over 6 years, previously serving at the Children’s Services Coordinator in which she supported survivors who were also involved in the child welfare system. Lindsey was an active member of the Through the Eyes of the Child Domestic Violence Subcommittee and assisted in developing the Safe and Healthy Families Initiative (SAHFI) which supported the Safe and Healthy Families Court (SAHFC). Lindsey supervises three advocates who work directly with survivors and participate in SAHFC team meetings and case mappings. Lindsey also serves on the SAHFI Management Team. Lindsey is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner and has experience working with youth experiencing mental and behavioral health challenges as well as the child welfare field. Lindsey received her MA in Counseling Psychology through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Hon. Elise M .W. White
Hon. Elise M .W. White has served as Judge of the Separate Juvenile Court of Lancaster County, Nebraska since April of 2020. Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge White ran a small firm for 14 years, specializing in family, juvenile and elder law as well as mediation services;serving as parents attorney and Guardian ad Litem in a variety of juvenile and domestic relations cases. She is currently the lead judge for the Lancaster County Safe and Healthy Families Problem Solving Court, the child welfare lead judge for the Lancaster County Through the Eyes of the Child Initiative and serves on a wide variety of Nebraska Supreme Court committees and commissions. She is a 2006 graduate of the Nebraska College of Law.
Beth has been with the Department of Health and Human Services since 2012 beginning her career there supervising 7 southeastern rural counties in the division of Children Family Services. She transitioned into her role as a CFS Administrator serving Lancaster County in 2017. In this role she created the first Southeast Service Area domestic violence specialized team. Beth started her work in Child Welfare in 2009 during privatization as a service coordinator, she then became a trainer until her she transitioned to HHS. Beth has her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Relations and a Master’s of Arts with an Emphasis in Management, both achieved from Doane University. Beth is trained in the Safe & Together Model CORE program.
Dr. Pamela Jordan Program evaluator with the University of Nebraska's Center on Children, Families, & the LawDr. Pamela JordanProgram evaluator with the University of Nebraska's Center on Children, Families, & the Law
Dr. Pamela Jordan, a program evaluator with the University of Nebraska’s Center on Children, Families, & the Law, oversees evaluation of our Safe & Healthy Families Court activities including the Safe & Together training provided to court professionals and our implementation of S & T principles in the problem-solving court. Pam holds a Ph.D. in Community Psychology and has worked in the domestic violence field for more than 20 years, helping programs measure the difference they make in survivors’ lives.
Flor GonzalezDirector of Support Services at La Casa
Flor Gonzalez is the Director of Support Services at La Casa in Las Cruces, New Mexico where she works to serve victims of domestic violence and their families. As the Director of Support Services, she oversees the case management, children and youth program, transitional housing, battering intervention program, legal advocacy department, and the crisis advocacy and intake department at the main office in Las Cruces and the satellite office located in Anthony. Flor is certified as a National Community Crisis Response Team Member through the National Organization of Victim Assistance (NOVA) and is specifically trained to provide trauma mitigation, education, and emotional first aid in the aftermath of a critical incident, either small-scale or mass-casualty. She is a Crisis Prevention Institute Certified Instructor (CPI) in non-violent crisis intervention and has completed the Coaching Boys Into Men advocate Certification and is prepared to facilitate Coaches Clinics in her community. She was selected to participate in the 2022 Leadership Education and Advancement for Professionals (LEAP) Cohort 8 Academy through ValorUS and the U.S Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women. The LEAP Project is designed to provide intensive, interactive, training and practicum for leaders of color in the anti-violence field.
Prior to taking this position, she was the Prevention Education Coordinator at La Pinon Sexual Assault Recovery Services of Southern New Mexico for the last 11 years. During her time at La Pinon, Flor was a leading voice in sexual violence prevention efforts throughout the State of New Mexico. She was involved in the development of the It Starts With Us Communications campaign from start to finish which stresses the importance of understanding that we all play a role in ending sexual violence. In 2014, Flor was selected to participate in the development of the Statewide Strategic Plan for Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence and it was published in December of 2015.
Her life mission has been to end disparity against marginalized communities by working with communities of color, immigrant populations, poverty, older adults, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ and working with diverse women and youth. In the 28 years that Flor has worked with these marginalized communities, she has been able to develop and implement curriculum as a tool that focuses on the importance of consent, respect, and empathy, challenging rigid gender roles and promoting social norms that protect against violence.
Along with her lifelong commitment to ending gender-based violence she has a passion for working with youth. She is in her 29th year as an assistant volleyball coach at Las Cruces High School. She uses the opportunity not only to teach the game but also to teach life skills that will forever be instilled in these youth.
Brenda Flores is an Investigations Supervisor for Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD). She received her Bachelor of Social Work from New Mexico State University in 2012. She started her career with CYFD in 2012 as a Backlog Worker in Investigations and has held positions of Senior Investigator, Investigator and Family Centered Meeting Facilitator. Ms. Flores has been trained in Safe and Together since 2018. She participated in the first NM Safe and Together Kickstarter Project for Protective Services and La Casa, Inc. in 2022. Along with her peers at PS and La Casa, Inc. leadership, Ms. Flores presented on the Project at the 2023 NM Children’s Law Institute and the 2023 NM NASW Conference. Ms. Flores has always found a passion for domestic violence investigations and has always looked for ways to better partner with survivors and hold perpetrators accountable for their behavior, including being a part of several domestic violence trainings throughout her career.
Marianne Hernandez-JimenezCYFD Protective Services
Marianne Hernandez-Jimenez, LMSW obtained a Master of Social Work Degree in 1998 from NMSU. She has been employed with CYFD Protective Services for over 24 years and supervised the In-Home Services Unit in Dona Ana County for 12 years. Ms. Hernandez-Jimenez was also a PS Trainer/Coach for Region 5. She is now the County Office Manager for Dona Ana County and oversees Investigations and In-Home Services. She has served on several CYFD workgroups, including the Safety Assessment and Safety Organized Practice Implementation. Ms. Hernandez-Jimenez is a member of the In-Home Services Family Connections and Supervisory Practice Framework Leadership Teams. She trains new supervisors and managers utilizing the Supervisory Practice Framework. She participated in the first NM Safe and Together Kickstarter Project for Protective Services and La Casa, Inc. in 2021. Along with her peers at PS and La Casa, Inc. leadership, Ms. Hernandez-Jimenez presented on the Project at the 2023 NM Children’s Law Institute and the 2023 NM NASW Conference. Ms. Hernandez-Jimenez serves as a board member on the Dona Ana County Juvenile Justice Continuum Board and the LC3 Local Behavioral Health Collaborative. She is a Certified Parent Educator for Circle of Security Parenting Program. Ms. Hernandez-Jimenez has been an adjunct instructor at NMSU and has also served as a Field Liaison and Field Instructor for BSW and MSW Student Interns.
Katie HansenChild and Family Services Specialist Supervisor- Domestic Violence unit
Kaitlin Hahn is a supervisor of the domestic violence unit with DHHS, Child and Family Services. Kaitlin supervises a team who assess allegations of domestic violence when children are present. Kaitlin has been with DHHS since 2013 and has had a passion for working domestic violence cases and partnering with survivors. Kaitlin assists in training OPD, school social workers and other professions about how domestic violence affects children. Kaitlin is trained the domestic violence Safe and Together model and has implemented in her unit for DHHS. Kaitlin founded the SODV fundraising foundation that raises funding and awareness for domestic violence survivors and surrounding advocacy center. SODV hosts yearly golf tournaments, volleyball tournaments and silent auctions. In her free time she is often playing volleyball, watching movies or hanging out with her dog.
Bethani has spent over a decade working with children and families. Her work has included conducting child protection investigations, long term preventive services and supervising a team of on the ground field workers. Since leaving this work, she joined the Domestic Violence Bureau at NYS Office of Children and Family Services to continue her child welfare work and advocacy for the women and children experiencing domestic violence in New York. Bethani hopes to continue to make real, lasting change for our families and be a part of the efforts to help improve DV informed child welfare practice. Bethani completed the Train the Trainer program through Safe & Together in 2021 and since has been working on implementing this practice across NYS to child welfare and DV agencies. Bethani believes that together we can shift our practice in NYS across all systems, hoping to be a model for others. She has a MS Degree in Applied Family Science with a national certification as a Family Life Educator (CFLE).
Candace has been working in the fields of child welfare and domestic violence since 2001. Prior to her work at NYS Office of Children and Family Services, Candace spent a number of years in the field as a child protective worker and unit supervisor for a local district in New York, she was a trainer for child welfare workers at the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Candace started her work at OCFS at the Albany Regional Office as a county lead providing oversight, practice improvement, and program support to the local districts in the region. During that time, she had the opportunity to assess local child welfare practice through state reviews and the federal Child and Family Service Review (CFSR). She joined the Bureau of Domestic Violence Prevention and Victim Support at OCFS in 2017 as the Program Manager for CPS/DV Collaborations throughout the state, which is where she was first introduced to the Safe & Together Model. This introduction to the model and awareness of the benefits it provided the collaborations lead to years of advocating for more comprehensive training, tools and support for the field statewide. Candace completed the Train Certification Program through Safe & Together Institute in 2021 and has been working with her team to facilitate implementation of the Safe & Together Model across the state in hopes of creating more domestic violence informed systems and better outcomes for children and families.
Beth Ann MorhardtBeth Ann Morhardt Collaborations, LLC
Safe & Together Institute Faculty with extensive experience in DV & CPS sectors, both as a direct service & professional development provider. Founder of Beth Ann Morhardt Collaborations, LLC, a holistic professional development practice designed to support the sacred work within systems.
Courageous FireCourageous Fire, LLC
Courageous Fire is a Black woman who came to understand just how crushing the disparities of being a Black woman escaping domestic violence are. Not just because of being a woman, or being Black, but because she was both. As she continued to research after she achieved a more comfortable measure of “safety” from the abuser, she found out that she shared this truth with her sisters across the entire country. She wanted to know why.
One of the biggest factors was the historical context of who America had decided she and her Black sisters were – aggressive, hypersexual, provocative, angry, violent, malicious, sneaky, incapable of or highly tolerant of pain, strong, and loved to serve others to the point of self-sacrifice. This America was incapable of hosting safe spaces to provide services to her and her sisters during crises. This America could not be trusted to meet the needs of her and the children she would be left to raise alone. Courageous wanted to #changethenarrative.
She began Courageous Fire, LLC nearly 4 years ago to educate with a concentration on two distinct groups – Centers of Trust and Centers of Must – to increase the spaces where Black women can be treated with dignity, compassion, and stop being refused services or having services terminated for showing up fully as a Black woman during crisis. Courageous has always known her work would need to broaden to mitigate the harm of systems holding Black women accountable for the perpetrator’s violence against them and their children. That’s why she is moving toward those state-operated systems in her collaborative work with organizations such as Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, Children and Families of Iowa, and Safe and Together Institute to make that happen.
Courageous is a consultant, trainer, and women’s empowerment speaker who comes with 11+ years of curriculum development and delivery experience, 5+ years as a motivational speaker, and 4+ years of independent studies in historical and systemic racial impact on Black women in DV. She often says her approach is never “shame on you!” which closes people down, but instead it is one of “did you know?” to give people a safe place for consideration. Courageous is aware that there is a temptation to assume how a Black woman will “teach”, but experience has shown her that knowledge, authenticity, and comfort with who she is creates a safe for her audience to be comfortable with themselves while they learn, question, seek, discard, relearn, and grow. She comes ready to invite everyone that attends that level of #permission.
Leah VejzovicNorth America Regional Manager, Safe & Together Institute
Leah has been working as a social worker in the fields of child welfare and domestic violence victim advocacy since 2007. She has experience as a child welfare services provider, a domestic and sexual assault victim advocate, a therapist specializing in work with adult and child survivors and perpetrators, a men’s behavior change program facilitator and as the coordinator of domestic violence training and response for the Department of Human Services in her home state of Iowa. Leah also had the opportunity to sit on local and statewide boards related to domestic and sexual violence prevention and services and continues to be a part of the Iowa Domestic Abuse Death Review team. Leah first became connected to the Safe & Together Institute during her tenure as state coordinator when she helped facilitate implementation of the Safe & Together Model across the state. She now serves as a Resource Development Specialist for the Institute, developing training and resources. Having worked in both direct service with families and in systems change, Leah is passionate about equipping professionals with the tools they need to do effective work with families and to engage in larger agency and systems change.
Shelly Napoletano FlynnTrainer Certification Program Manager, Safe & Together Institute
Shelly Napoletano Flynn, MSW began at Safe & Together Institute in July 2018 as the Trainer Certification Program Manager overseeing the Institute’s Certified Trainer Expansion. Shelly’s professional career includes over twenty years of experience in the field of child welfare with a dual focus on direct practice with children and families and systems-level social work practice. With the focus on children birth through age eight and their families, her career included direct service, case management and administration which included intersections with statutory child protection, juvenile and family courts, mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and local crisis response teams.
Shelly’s experience in systems-level practice involved projects such as the evaluation and development of a community’s local capacity to holistically serve its at-risk population of children and families. Additionally, she evaluated and reported on the state-wide supervision practices of Connecticut Certified School Social Workers. As a result of this research, Shelly served on the State of Connecticut Department of Education’s Task Force to develop and implement properly aligned and discipline-specific evaluation standards for school-based social workers in the State of Connecticut. Additionally, her work in systems practice led to the honor of being invited to present on local capacity development of a Birth through Age Eight Children and Family Initiative to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services in Washington DC.
Dr Emma KatzAssociate Professor in Sociology, Durham University
Dr Emma Katz, Ph.D., is an internationally-renowned expert in domestic abuse and coercive control, whose work has influenced legislation in the UK and overseas. Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse where perpetrators use a pattern of threats, humiliation and intimation to control and dominate their partner and children, depriving them of independence and isolating them from support. Because coercive control does not always involve physical violence, it has often been under-reported and under-recognised. It was recognised as a criminal offence in England and Wales in 2015.
Emma’s research with mothers and children who have survived coercive control has transformed understandings of domestic abuse. Children’s experiences of coercive control were largely invisible prior to Emma’s work, which found that children were affected by many forms of abuse beyond physical violence against their mother, including imprisonment, deprivation of resources, and isolation from the outside world. Emma’s research findings on children and coercive control have been used to train professionals internationally.
Her book, Coercive Control in Children’s and Mothers’ Lives (2022, Oxford University Press) is described as a ‘pioneering work’ that ‘will change how we understand and response to children’s experience of domestic abuse’ (Evan Stark, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University).
Dr Emma Katz gained her Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham, UK and is currently a Senior Lecturer at Liverpool Hope University, UK.
Adam Joel - Last DropFilmmaker, co-founder of Aggressively Compassionate production company
Adam Joel is a survivor of relationship abuse and an impact-driven filmmaker. He is the Writer and Director of The Last Drop a short sci-fi film about relationship abuse inspired by the memories of real survivors. Adam is leading an international campaign using this revolutionary film to help people identify and react to the lesser known forms of abuse that tend to occur BEFORE a relationship turns violent. To make this project as useful as possible, The Safe & Together Institute designed a Course around the film on their website with a “Professional Ally Guide” to accompany it. Together, Adam and S&TI are providing this project as a tool to help professionals like you lead meaningful conversations about relationship safety all over the world.
David MandelCEO, Founder, Owner, Safe & Together Institute
With over almost 30 years’ experience in the domestic violence field, David’s international training and consulting focuses on improving systems’ responses to domestic violence when children are involved. Through years of work with child welfare systems, David has developed the Safe & Together™ Model to improve case practice and cross-system collaboration in domestic violence cases involving children. He has also identified how a perpetrator pattern-based approach can improve our ability to help families and promote the development of domestic violence-informed child welfare systems.
David and the Safe & Together Institute’s staff and faculty have consulted to United States’ child welfare systems in a number of states including New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, Iowa, Wisconsin, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, Vermont, Oregon and Ohio. In the last five years, their work has expanded outside the United States with research, training and consultation in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and other countries. The Safe & Together Institute works closely with domestic violence advocates, in the United States and abroad, to help them more effectively work with child protection systems and better advocate for child welfare-involved adult and child domestic violence survivors. David has written and published online courses which has launched a new Safe & Together Model Certified Trainer initiative that will increase the Institute’s ability to support sustainable implementation of domestic violence-informed practice in the US and abroad.
David has written or co-written journal articles on batterer’s perceptions of their children’s exposure to domestic violence, domestic violence case reading tools, and the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare practice. His chapter on “Batterers and the Lives of Their Children” was published in the Praeger Series Violence Against Women in Families and Relationships.