To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, nearly 200 people packed an auditorium at Simmons College School of Social Work for a special event last week to launch the 3rd edition of their free online domestic violence training course. FFI’s Anna Melbin participated in a panel with other leaders in the Massachusetts domestic violence field, who were each asked to share their unique perspective on the past, present and future of the field. Anna talked about FFI’s work to increase access to wellbeing for people who experience violence, and specifically about our multi-year project in California that was focused on understanding how people who experience violence define success for themselves in their lives. The project illustrates what she’s believed since she started work in the DV field: that people—whether using or victimized by violence—are more the same than different and wellbeing, not just safety, is the key to long-term healing and hope. Anna pointed out that the mainstream DV field has historically shied away from work to truly understand what is driving violent behavior and the contexts in which it occurs, fearing that it could be perceived as excusing violence and not prioritizing accountability. Looking ahead to the future of the field, she called for change: “We’re not well practiced in holding the gray areas, and it’s limited our field of vision and possibilities for change. I believe that we’re well past due to interrupt this historical perspective; if we don’t, cycles of violence will continue, deepening the divide and the oppression and marginalization of the most vulnerable.”
FFI is thrilled and honored to announce we have received a multi-year grant from the Kresge Foundation. This investment of operating support will help us to grow dramatically and sustainably in the coming years, expanding our infrastructure and operations and leveraging additional investments so that we can eventually work with over 50 nonprofit organizations and systems seeking to create the conditions that provide more equitable access to wellbeing for people and communities living at the intersection of poverty, violence, trauma and oppression.
“Full Frame Initiative shows how human services organizations and policies can evolve to advance person-centered supports that increase access to opportunity for people,” said Sandra Ambrozy, senior program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s Human Services Program. “With our investment, we hope that FFI will be able to scale and expand its model and approach and build the case for a wellbeing framework in the human services sector.”
Want to make child welfare reform that lasts? Invest in supervisors—the people who oversee, guide, support and coach frontline workers who are in communities every day. In our partnership with Missouri Children’s Division, we are training all supervisors in the agency to incorporate an orientation around wellbeing and the Five Domains of Wellbeing into their supervision of and work with staff. Training frontline workers without training their supervisors creates friction and undermines change. Children’s Division supervisors are being equipped to drive, support and reinforce the changes being made as their agency adopts a new practice model based on child and family wellbeing.
As one Macon County Supervisor said after the training, “I am excited about coaching my staff to challenge and change their perceptions of families who have repeat involvement with CD and to help them see these families with a new lens that tells a ‘different’ more positive story about who they are.”
By this fall, every supervisor in the state’s child welfare department, and the supervisors’ supervisors, will have been through a two day intensive training, provided in small groups with follow up coaching. The results are already becoming apparent—seeing families in the “full frame” of their lives, leading to more trust and better information, which in turn helps the system make more informed decisions on how to best support children and strengthen families.
In conjunction with the winter Synergy publication featuring the work of FFI and its partner Missouri Children’s Division, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’s Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody is hosting a webinar this week on Wednesday, May 18th, at 3pm EST. It is free to attend and the registration is open now! See the full webinar description and registration link below.
Wellbeing, the Missing Piece of the Safety & Permanency Puzzle: A Different Approach from Missouri Children’s Division
Presenters: Tim Decker, Director, Missouri Children’s Division and Katya Fels Smyth, CEO, the Full Frame Initiative
Date: May 18, 2016
Time: 12:00pm PT, 1:00pm MT, 2:00pm CT, 3:00pm ET
Duration: 90 minutes
In 2014, Missouri Children’s Division began a system transformation to improve outcomes. A key strategy is considering not just safety but wellbeing from the first contact with a family. To support this effort, the agency has adopted the Five Domains of Wellbeing as the foundation of its philosophy and practice. On this webinar, the Director of Missouri Children’s Division and the CEO of the Full Frame Initiative will offer an overview of the Five Domains of Wellbeing framework, provide examples of how it is being applied in Missouri’s child welfare system, share preliminary observations and findings, as well as plans for the future, and discuss implications of this shift for families, workers, and partner agencies. The webinar will also include a discussion of the key factors in making the Children’s Division/Full Frame Initiative partnership robust, productive, and sustainable.
If you haven’t already, be sure to download the Synergy Winter, 2016 issue to read the related article “Wellbeing, the Missing Piece of the Safety and Permanency Puzzle: A New Approach from Children’s Division,” as well as other articles featuring FFI and our partners.
For more information or questions, please contact Alicia Lord at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Learning from What Goes Well Project held its second in-person convening on April 8-9 in Sacramento. Twenty-two participants encompassing community team members, organizational partners, and FFI staff focused on applying assets-based skills to a case study exercise as well as community teams’ initiatives, to build the practice of starting with what goes well. Tools that participants gained deeper knowledge in include community assets mapping, identifying community leaders and natural supports, and systems change strategies, among others. Working in a shared space cultivated stronger connections and opportunities for thought partnership and collaboration.
FFI believes that people living at the intersection of poverty, violence, trauma and oppression have the potential to live full and fulfilling lives. But too often, people encounter barriers to wellbeing in the very systems set up to help them, and they experience social structures that reinforce inequity and undermine individual and collective wellbeing. FFI increases access to wellbeing for the most marginalized people and communities by changing those systems, challenging those social structures and removing those barriers.
With your generous support this year, we will expand our projects into new states and sectors, strengthen our work with community-based initiatives, build the movement for wellbeing and continue to remove barriers and change systems so that marginalized communities can unleash their potential and thrive.
Let’s unleash potential together. Support FFI today to help us reach our year-end fundraising goals and continue to increase access to wellbeing!
Recently, the Full Frame Initiative held a day-long training in St. Louis City with Court personnel, Division of Youth Services staff and Children’s Division staff. The training covered several topics, such as an overview of the Five Domains of Wellbeing, understanding tradeoffs and reviewing a court case. One of the other topics explored in the training was natural community supports. Each group was given a St. Louis City Neighborhood and asked to identify the actual name of community members from the mail carrier to the middle school teacher. Participants were not allowed to Google information but only use personal connections. The activity was a powerful way to solidify the importance of natural community supports.
Take a minute to listen to a group of 5th graders who wrote an article titled “You Really Don’t Know Us,” about their community. It is extremely powerful to hear from the youth about their community. Think about the neighborhood you work in, what are the natural supports in your community? Think beyond paid services because most paid providers will not be in the family’s life after the intervention. Think about who can help the family to make change that lasts.
Written by Carla Gilzow, Quality Assurance Unit Manager with Missouri Children’s Division.
Trichia Long and Jennifer Booher from Missouri Division of Youth Services presented a workshop at the annual Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative conference in Springfield, MO at the end of June. They introduced the Five Domains of Wellbeing to an audience of juvenile officers, judges, detention supervisors, private residential managers and Office of State Courts Administrators staff members. Trichia and Jennifer facilitated a rich discussion on putting a focus on people’s wellbeing and understanding tradeoffs. The participants were interested and engaged, recognizing some of the system’s barriers to wellbeing but eager to learn more about the framework. We thank Trichia and Jennifer for their expert facilitation skills and continually strong partnership with FFI!
On Friday, August 15, FFI and its Greater Boston Full Frame Network will be hosting the area premiere of Rich Hill, followed by a panel discussion. Save the date now, and plan to join us at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA. The screening is at 7:30 p.m. Rich Hill, winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, is powerful film that focuses on three boys and their families in the small town of Rich Hill, MO. While not shying away from the challenges these boys face, the film is “full frame” in its perspective that beautifully illuminates the protagonists’ strengths, hopes, dreams and, above all, their love for their families. Rich Hill is opening in select theaters around the country starting in August; a list of dates and locations can be found on the film’s Facebook page. It will also be available On Demand starting August 5.