All over the world, agencies and communities have implemented the Safe & Together™ Model, leading to dramatic improvements in effectiveness, efficiency and outcomes for families.
The child-centered Safe & Together™ Model derives its name from the concept that children are best served when we can work toward keeping them safe and together with the non-offending parent (the adult domestic violence survivor). With that goal in mind, the effectiveness of the Model is measured by how systems and practice change to make this occur as much as possible. We are constantly striving to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of our work. Here are some examples of those efforts.
The University of Melbourne project team conducted a two-year pilot Family Violence Multi Agency Triage project (MAT). From December 2015 to December 2017 the MAT delivered daily collaborative multi-agency triaging of all police family violence reports (called L17s) in the north-eastern region of Melbourne. The MAT project was also the Victorian Demonstration site for the national PATRICIA Project.
In 2014 and 2017, Edinburgh’s Child Protection Committee funded 46 professionals each year to undertake a four-day training in the model. The report outlines the findings from the 2014 case file audit which evidenced the need for practice change; an outline of the key principles and components of the model; an outline of significant practice improvement shown in a subsequent case file audit; and a summary of the implementation in Edinburgh and beyond.
In an example of how the Model works for both advocates and child welfare, the Safe & Together Institute has collaborated with both the Florida Coalition for Domestic Violence (FCADV) and the Florida Department of Children and Families. Some of this work has focused both training case workers and advocates in the Model. In one area, where we trained both Child Protective Investigators and FCADV-funded, co-located domestic violence advocates, domestic violence related removals represented 20.6% of removals in Bay and Gulf counties. Over a six-month period, the removal rate dropped to 13.6%. Six months later, the removal rate dropped even more to 9.1%.
The National Center for Adoption Law and Policy (now FY-LAW), the Healthpath Foundation of Ohio and Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services conducted a third party evaluation of the Safe & Together Model trainings in Ohio, including the Certified Trainer approach. 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.
For years, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families used external consultants trained in the Safe & Together Model to help them identify, assess and intervene effectively in cases involving domestic violence. Placed in every child welfare office, these consultants were involved in over 14,500 unique cases in five years. In a small survey of supervisors trained in the Model, 66% reported positive changes in their supervisory practice; 62% indicated positive change in their workers’ practice; and 69% of the respondents indicated continued positive or improved use of the Domestic Violence Consultants.
Colorado Department of Human Services asked the Safe & Together Institute to deliver a series of Model trainings for a diverse audience that included child welfare staff and domestic violence advocates. The response showed 89% had a positive, very positive or excellent training experience; 82% used the training to impact their practice.
This report was produced with the Iowa Department of Human Service, a long time partner of the Safe & Together Institute. It shares Parent Partners’ thoughts on how their own experiences as domestic violence survivors in the child welfare system may have been different if their case workers had been trained in the S&TI approach.