Contact Information

Amber Ptak
Former Greenbook Project Coordinator
amber_ptak@hotmail.com

Michelle Valdez
TESSA Executive Director
P.O. Box 2662
Colorado Springs, CO 80901
Phone: (719) 785-6806
mvaldez@tessacs.org

Overview

El Paso County is located on Colorado's Front Range, approximately 65 miles south of Denver. It is the second largest county in the state with a population slightly over 500,000; 460,000 live in the city of Colorado Springs. Over the past ten years it has experienced a significant growth rate (25 percent) in the suburban and rural areas of the county. It is a primarily Anglo community (75 percent), with Latino and African American populations each under 10 percent, and Asian/Pacific Islander and Native Americans both below 5 percent. The military is El Paso County's main source of industry, which includes an air force academy, an army fort, two air force bases, and NORAD. In recent years, the transient nature of the military industry has been offset by an influx of high tech companies, fueling much of the recent population growth.

The growing population of El Paso County in recent years has heightened pressure on city and county infrastructures to meet the challenges of domestic violence and child maltreatment (DV/CM). According to data collected in 2006, TESSA, the local domestic violence and sexual assault victim services agency, responded to over 43,000 client service calls and provided more than 6,000 nights of shelter for women and children. During the same year, the Colorado Springs Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff's Office responded to more than 20,000 domestic violence calls for service and made approximately 4,500 misdemeanor arrests. The El Paso County Department of Human Services received approximately 9,500 reports of child abuse and neglect, assigned 4,500 investigations, transferred 700 for services, and placed approximately 200 children.


The Local Approach to Greenbook Implementation for El Paso County, Colorado

Approach

The Greenbook Consortium identified a governance and operating system plan, implement and evaluate Greenbook recommendations. The Greenbook Executive Committee was the primary decision-making body and was comprised of representatives from TESSA, El Paso County Department of Human Services, El Paso County Combined Courts, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Colorado Springs Police Department's Domestic Violence Enhanced Service Response Team, and Family Representatives (adult survivors of domestic violence).

A key early decision was that sytems change in El Paso County would require a broad-based effort, reaching well beyond the primary partners in the Greenbook. A larger Greenbook Oversight Committee, comprised of other organizations who play a role in the local domestic violence response, was responsible for reporting successes, challenges and recommendations as to the direction of Greenbook implementation to the Executive Committee. The Executive and Oversight Committees agreed upon a "committee structure" in order to work through identified work initiatives. These committees included at least one representative from a Greenbook partner agency and a Family Representative to provide overall direction and process support.

A Project Director (Amber Ptak) was hired to guide the project and a Local Research Partner (Terry Schwartz) was contracted to work with the National Evaluation Team and conduct locally determined evaluation activities.

The El Paso County Greenbook Initiative aimed to provide proactive supports to families dealing with the co-occurence of domestic violence and child maltreatment so as to minimize their system involvement. The overall project goals set forth were as follows:
  • Systems are philosophically aligned with regard to the response to the co-occurence of domestic violence and child maltreatment
  • Decrease in re-victimization of individuals by any system
  • Systems can provide increased safety for abused adults and children
  • Increased trust of the system on the part of consumers

The strategies the consortium utilized to meet the goals were the following:
  • Create and sustain the multidisciplinary "Collaboration"
  • Focus on the Civil/Criminal Legal System:
    • Provide Judicial Education for the bench, bar and others
    • Hire Court Case Coordinator to integrate information across courts
      - Hire Domestic Violence Case Monitor to oversee compliance on all misdemeanor domestic violence deferred sentences
    • Implement Prosecution Safety Audit to investigate the information/factors that influence prosecutorial decision-making
    • Revise protocols for Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Increase legal resources/services for DV victims
    • Develop El Paso County Pre-Sentence Evaluation Pilot Project to provide a contextual analysis and an individualized approach to sentencing
    • Conduct Female Defendant Study to investigate the high rate of female domestic violence arrests
  • Department of Human Services
    • Implement an Institutional Safety and Accountability Audit to investigate possible re-victimization and offender accountability efforts
    • Create internal Guidelines to Investigate Child Maltreatment and Domestic Violence Cases
    • Create and mandate co-occurrence training for all workers
    • Develop an internal DV Resource Team to assist workers in their investigations
    • Analyze and continue to develop their response to men who batter
  • TESSA
    • Create guidelines for information sharing, confidentiality and mandated reporting
    • Implement an Audit to analyze their response to children
    • Participate in annual anti-oppression dialogues and modified agency policies and procedures
  • Create Frontline Worker Committee to include direct service workers in the Greenbook response
  • Include Family Representatives to provide voice to the direction of the initiative
  • Create Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA) to engage men in the effort to prevent violence against women and children
  • Create Service Access and Resource Development Committee to map agency case flow and design strategies for improvement
  • Create Cultural Inclusivity Committee to develop and implement the Cultural Competency Organizational Sefl-Assessment
  • Provide ongoing Cross-Training and Shadowing
  • Develop STOP Family Violence Media Campaign to highlight the positive role men/fathers can have on their children
  • Increase community organizing and mobilization efforts

ABOUT RCDV:CPC

Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody.

Contact

1-800-52-PEACE or 1-800-527-3223
Email : info@rcdvcpc.org

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