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.