- Targeting key states to implement the National Council's recommendations;
- Providing resources for demonstration sites to also implement the recommendations;
- Providing training, technical assistance and capacity building for state and local implementation sites;
- Crafting national and state public policy initiatives that support the recommendations;
- Raising awareness of policy makers and the general public of the importance of this work.
Targeting Key States
State leaders in child welfare, domestic violence and the courts need to develop a state level implementation plan that will build statewide commitment and leadership that benefits local sites that are working to change their response to dually-affected families, and that encourages other states to implement the Council's recommendations.
Since many states operate their child protection and court systems through state-level agencies, implementation efforts in those states will necessarily occur at the state level. Encouraging state implementation efforts by providing technical assistance and support will begin to build critical mass for additional states to follow suit.
The goal of this strategy is to get state-level child welfare, domestic violence and judicial agencies and organizations to begin implementing the Council's recommendations, thus building toward a critical mass to create change. In addition, building state leadership will also encourage local sites within the state to begin implementing the recommendations.
Four regional statewide leadership forums will bring together the state child welfare directors, directors of the state domestic violence coalitions and a lead juvenile court state level judge. These forums will introduce the Council's recommendations and encourage a commitment from state leaders to implement the recommendations.
Prior to each regional forum, a member of a respected national organization will contact state leaders in each of the three sectors. Staff from each of these agencies will brief the leaders on the purpose and development of the Council's recommendations, discuss incentives for their implementation of the recommendations and encourage their attendance at leadership forums. These outreach efforts will likely result in leaders from approximately half the states in each region agreeing to attend the meeting. Special outreach efforts will be geared toward states where leaders from one or two of the three sectors have already expressed an interest in implementing the recommendations.
The statewide leadership forums will include approximately 18 state leaders (six from each of the three sectors). They will be jointly conducted by the organizations listed above. At the forums, information on the importance of addressing the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse will be discussed, and the Council's recommendations will be reviewed. Time will be available for each sector to meet separately to develop a plan for obtaining the endorsement of the Council's recommendations by local leaders from their respective sectors. Finally, each state will develop collaborative implementation plans specific to their state. At the end of these sessions, each state will have a plan for providing state resources and support to local and state programs wishing to implement the recommendations.Top of page
Providing Resources for Demonstration Sites
Despite the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child abuse, most communities have treated the abuse of women and the maltreatment of children in the same family as separate problems, to be addressed by separate systems. The reluctance of communities to address these dual forms of violence together arises not just from ignorance of the data. More importantly, doing so raises complicated and sensitive issues that were addressed in the Council's recommendations. The core need for the complete five-part plan is to see if the recommendations can be reasonably and effectively implemented, and if they have a positive impact on abused adults and children and the systems that serve them.
The goal is to test in local communities the effectiveness of the guidelines in improving collaborations and agency interventions to achieve safety for battered mothers and their children and hold abusers accountable.
Six or more local communities will implement the guidelines and have evaluation data on the effectiveness of these guidelines and collaborations in keeping battered mothers and their children safe. Each of the primary participating organizations in the community will establish together over time a coordinated, common, and consistent set of responses that protect, empower, and support adult and child victims of abuse.
Communities will be asked to address the intersection of domestic violence and child maltreatment by basing their implementation on the Council's guidelines. Each site will agree to put in place policies and practices, based on cross-system collaboration, for the identification, safety planning, case management, advocacy, protection and proper use of information, perpetrator accountability, and service provision with battered mothers and their children. The key to this strategy is its community-based nature. While all of the other efforts outlined in this plan are interconnected and critical, the community-based sites will be the true demonstration and test of the changes, collaborations, reforms and improved outcomes envisioned by this project. While the state-level efforts described above are needed for administrative and organizational reasons, even those efforts will ultimately be executed at the community level. Therefore, it is at this level that careful evaluation is most essential.Top of page
Raising Public Awareness
Raising awareness about the issues raised in the Council's publications will build support among policy makers, opinion leaders from each of the three sectors and the general public for solutions. Sites and states interested in implementing the recommendations can develop public awareness strategies for garnering both broad and targeted support.
To do this, the "Greenbook" project will host a national conference that will serve as a forum for introducing the "Greenbook" recommendations to leaders in each of the three fields. Some 250 leaders from the three disciplines will be invited to attend. The conference will: unveil the Greenbook and the messages; give participants opportunities to learn about the recommendations in practice; give states and communities a chance to consider and plan their involvement in the implementation initiative; and give media a chance to learn about the "Greenbook," its messages and the problems it seeks to address.
To win support from policy makers and opinion leaders from each of the three sectors for the implementation of the Council's recommendations. To get support from the general public for efforts to address the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse. To provide technical assistance to each of the demonstration sites and states interested in implementing the recommendations in order to assist them in developing a public awareness strategy for garnering the support of public policy makers and opinion leaders in each of the three fields.
The first step in garnering support is develop messages that are "user friendly" and that convey the importance of the recommendations made by the Council. Following the development of effective messages, experts will develop and implement a public relations strategy to reach the general public through media and other outlets. In addition, states and sites will be assisted in developing a campaign to reach policy makers and opinion leaders from each of the three fields within their state or local area.
It is anticipated that several aspects of this strategy will be complimentary to the work on developing a national policy agenda. Raising the awareness of public policy makers regarding the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse is clearly a key component of crafting effective public policy.Top of page
Crafting State and National Public Policies
State and national level public policy initiatives can support effective, coordinated responses to families and advance funding streams, reduce state and federal regulatory barriers to implementing the recommendations, promote adoption of a federal policy agenda and state policy initiatives, and help states that are working to implement the Council's recommendations.
The goal of this strategy will be to craft effective public policies that enable effective, coordinated responses to families where child abuse and domestic violence exist, and to ensure the successful implementation of these initiatives.
It is anticipated that both local and statewide implementation efforts will identify areas of concern that need to be addressed through federal policy initiatives. These areas may include such issues as funding streams and regulatory barriers.
In order to address these areas in a way that is informed by the work of statewide and local demonstration sites, a National Policy Working Group will be convened. This Group will consist of national and state level policy makers from each of the three sectors. The membership will evolve over time and will include leaders from the demonstration sites.
The National Policy Working Group will craft effective federal policy responses and develop plans for their adoption. A national agenda for policy reform will address the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse. The Working Group will identify areas where state policy needs to be changed in order to remove barriers to implementation of the recommendations. Examples of model state policy will be crafted for states to adapt to their specific circumstances.
The group will meet every six months and be staffed by the three organizations listed above. The Working Group will receive regular feedback from the constituents in the sites as to the usefulness and effectiveness of its work. Consultants specializing in national public policy advocacy will be retained to assist this group.Top of page
Providing Training, Technical Assistance and Capacity Development
Training, technical assistance and capacity development build a broader base of expertise, understanding and knowledge within each of the three systems, informing and supporting the states and communities that are implementing the Council's recommendations.
The need for trainers and experts from each of the three systems is tremendous. Currently only a handful of judges and professionals are in a position - in terms of availability and expertise - to provide technical assistance. Expertise should be developed from within the three systems themselves, at sites involved in implementing the recommendations. Meanwhile, those experts who are available must be persuaded to share their expertise with these emerging demonstration projects, and to offer general training, training of trainers and technical assistance at the national, state and local levels.
The overall goal is to develop a much broader base of expertise, understanding and knowledge within the three systems - juvenile justice, child protection and domestic violence services - to inform and support the efforts of states and communities implementing the Greenbook recommendations. In the process, the collaborations envisioned in the Greenbook will be modeled.
Each state and community involved in the overall effort to implement the recommendations will have an assistance team comprised of an expert from each of the three systems and at least one "expert in training" from each of the three systems in that community or state. After two or three years of implementation success, the "experts in training" will be used as technical assistance providers in other communities.
The top level leadership of each of the three systems in each jurisdiction will understand, endorse and provide substantive leadership for implementation of the recommendations within their communities, their states, and with their colleagues across the country.
An extraordinary array of technical assistance will be made available in order to meet whatever needs emerge from the sites. Non-traditional forms of technical assistance might include organizational development, group facilitation and technology consultants on contract to the project. Advisors to the "Greenbook" project and others will be engaged to provide special expertise as needed.
Meetings will be held with the top leaders in each of the state and local demonstrations. Regional meetings with state leaders from each of the three systems will be held as part of the plan for the state level implementation. The federally-funded demonstration projects will host similar meetings as part of their planning process. Representatives and consultants from the three national organizations will host the regional meetings for states and attend the demonstration site meetings as advisors. All of these meetings will begin a rich dialogue and sharing of information between sites.
During the state and local implementation process, a team of experts assigned to each site will provide on-site and telephone assistance on a regular basis. The team will consist of one representative - either staff or consultant - from each of the three national organizations providing technical assistance. The team will provide in-person assistance no less than every six months. In addition, the team of experts will contract with consultants to meet needs that go beyond the expertise of the team. A feedback mechanism will be developed to ensure that the sites are getting needed assistance.
As the implementation process matures, the sites will designate, with input from technical assistance teams, "experts in training" from each of the three systems. Special skill-development gatherings will be held just for the "experts in training" to enhance their capacity to network nationally, organize at the community or state level, conduct effective training for adults, and advocate for their constituencies. Gradually a pool of experts will be collected in a database and made available to fill training and technical assistance requests from around the country. With a minimum of three experts from each site and potentially six federally or privately funded demonstration sites and an additional eight states involved, there will be up to 40 new experts to carry on the work.Top of page