Safe and Together Model CAP Academy

spotlightPlease enjoy this update on last week’s Academy from AmeriCorps member Evan Abramsky!

Last week, a four-day Safe and Together Academy Training was hosted at the Iowa State Capitol as a part of our ongoing efforts to educate domestic violence caseworkers and staff in the Safe and Together model of child welfare-informed domestic violence response. By completing the training, the attending staff became certified Connect and Protect Members, ready to implement the Safe and Together model into state and regional practice. The training sessions were led by the model’s founder, David Mandel, and his associate and national trainer, Kyle Pinto. Both of them did amazing jobs inspiring the more than 40 workers and staff who attended to rethink the traditional philosophy of victim-based domestic violence response that fails to hold perpetrators accountable for their decisions.

David Mandel and his associates have decades of first-hand experience in the domestic violence and child welfare fields, and are thus acutely aware of the important nexus between them. David and Kyle effectively challenged many widely-held beliefs regarding the influence of domestic violence on the livelihood of children, reinforcing that domestic violence is in fact a parenting choice and children are also victimized, both directly and indirectly, by such choices. They also emphasized the importance for caseworkers and staff of mapping perpetrators’ patterns of behavior and engaging with perpetrators, as opposed to victims, when working to end the violence.

David Mandel led the first two days of the Academy Training, beginning day one with a pre-test that would later be compared to post-training test in order to determine the training’s efficacy and impact. Following the pre-test, David introduced some of the basic components of the Safe and Together model to the attendees, including the concepts of the “Domestic Violence Continuum” and perpetrator pattern-based approach. On day two, David shifted the focus to applying the concepts discussed during day one into the practical aspects of interviewing survivors and documenting information from a perpetrator pattern-based approach, and gave attendees several opportunities to practice their new skills within groups of their peers.

National Trainer Kyle Pinto led the last two days of the Academy Training. Kyle focused day three on learning to effectively map a perpetrator’s individual pattern of coercive control in order to better determine the extent of his control over the family and any harm he may have inflicted on the child; understanding a perpetrator’s pattern of control is key to pursuing actions that truly keep the survivor and child safe from harm. The final day of the Academy Training concentrated on recognizing the strengths of domestic violence survivors in their efforts to protect children from domestic violence in order to foster more trustworthy, reliable relationships between caseworkers, and the survivors and children they seek to protect.

With the end of the training, Iowa gained 43 new and enthusiastic Connect And Protect (CAP) Members trained in the Safe and Together model, and prepared to begin transforming practice throughout the central service region. While it will likely take years before the majority of state staff are familiar with the model and its tools, last week marked a promising beginning for the roll-out, which in time is sure to radically bolster Iowa’s success in protecting families by ending the scourge of domestic violence.

Over the course of the next few months, we will host two additional two-day supervisory trainings and ten one-day community trainings throughout the state that will inform casework supervisors and staff alike in the basic concepts and components of the Safe and Together model. You can find dates and locations for the coming trainings below!

Supervisory III Training, Waterloo, 9/9 – 9/10

Supervisory IV Training, Storm Lake, 9/16 – 9/17

Community – Western Training, Council Bluffs, 10/21

Community – Western Training, Sioux City, 10/22

Community – Eastern Training, Burlington, 10/26

Community – Eastern Training, Davenport, 10/27

Community – Cedar Rapids Area Training, Cedar Rapids, 10/28

Community – Cedar Rapids Area Training, Ottumwa, 10/29

Community – Northern Training, Waterloo, 11/9

Community – Northern Training, Fort Dodge, 11/10

Community – Des Moines Area Training, Des Moines, 11/12

Community – Des Moines Area Training, Des Moines, 11/13