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Denver Safe Start Project

Award Information

Award #
2010-JW-FX-K012
Location
Congressional District
Status
Closed
Funding First Awarded
2010
Total funding (to date)
$996,965

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $248,088)

The Safe Start Promising Approaches Project will develop and support practice enhancements and innovations to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in their homes and communities. The project will help communities implement collaborative and evidence-based practices across the services continuum for children and their families. Exposure to violence includes being a victim of violence or a witness to violence, and encompasses abuse, neglect or child maltreatment, domestic violence, and community violence. This program is authorized by Sections 261 and 262 of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (42 USC 5665-5666).

The Denver Probation Juvenile & Family Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC) will implement the Denver Safe Start project to identify, screen, assess, and treat the children of Denver drug court families for exposure to violence and the trauma that comes from parental and caregiver substance abuse and justice system involvement. The overall goal of the project is to prevent and reduce children's exposure to violence through a family- centered approach among the courts, probation, treatment providers & law enforcement.

CA/NCF

The Safe Start Promising Approaches Project will develop and support practice enhancements and innovations to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in their homes and communities. The project will help communities implement collaborative and evidence-based practices across the services continuum for children and their families. Exposure to violence includes being a victim of violence or a witness to violence, and encompasses abuse, neglect or child maltreatment, domestic violence, and community violence.
This program is authorized by Sections 261 and 262 of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, as amended (42 USC 5665-5666). The 10 pilot sites will test various evidence-based enhancements and practice innovations such as AF-CBT, TF-CBT, Strengthening Families Program, Coping Resources and other interventions in community-based settings such as DV shelters, libraries, Head Start, community mental health clinics and afterschool clubs. NCA/NCF

OJJDP has a specific mission to develop and disseminate knowledge about what works to prevent juvenile delinquency and violence and improve the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. § 5601 et seq authorizes the Administrator of OJJDP to conduct research or evaluations and undertake statistical analyses on a wide range of juvenile justice matters. OJJDP also provides funding to states and localities to carry out research, evaluation, and statistical analyses.

Denver Safe Start will work within the Denver court system to implement a standard protocol of identifying, screening, assessing and treating children & youth of substance abusing parents involved in the adult, family & juvenile courts for exposure to violence as part of a comprehensive prevention and intervention approach. Denver Safe Start builds on the current social ecological model which assumes that the interactions among various systems (i.e. courts, probation, law enforcement, & families) influence each other in a manner that can either decrease or increase the likelihood of child maltreatment &/or health promotion.

The Denver Safe Start program will serve adult, family & juvenile court-involved defendants and their children under the age of 18. Program participants will include residents of the City and County of Denver, CO. Specifically, Denver plans to provide the Strengthening Families Coping Resources (SFCR) program, an empirically supported treatment by the NCTSN. SFCR is a manualized, trauma- focused, multi-family, skill-building intervention that is designed for families living in traumatic contexts with the goal of reducing the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) & other trauma-related disorders in children and adult caregivers. This intervention builds coping resources for increasing the family's sense of safety, helping families function with stability and cope with crisis, helping families regulate their emotions and behaviors, and improving family communication about and understanding of the traumas they have experienced. SFCR is intended to increase coping resources in children, adult caregivers, and in the family system to prevent relapse and re-exposure.

The SFCR program will be supplemented with the Law Enforcement Advocate (LEA) program. The LEA program began as collaboration between the Denver Police Department & lead agency for Denver Safe Start, the Denver Probation Juvenile & Family Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC) in 2003, and has been used in several grant-funded programs. The LEA program is also manualized and documents implementation activities. The LEA's are trained in strength based interventions, including Stages of Change & motivational interviewing. In general, the LEA program targets the development & maintenance of positive relationships with families and advocacy for families while concurrently enhancing accountability and public safety through extensive outreach. Although outcomes of the LEA program have not been previously published, The TASC LEA program has shown great promise in increasing client social support and accountability, and reducing negative peer influences & family conflict/domestic violence. Also, for the second year in a row, the LEA program has been a semi-finalist in the prestigious Webber Seavey Award program, which identifies innovations in policing.

CA/NCF

This program furthers the Department's mission by providing grants and cooperative agreements for research and evaluation activities to organizations that OJJDP designates.

The Safe Start Promising Approaches project supports the development and study of the practice enhancements and innovations to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in their homes and communities. The eight continuation projects serve as the practice pilots for a multi-site national evaluation using experimental and quasi-experimental research design to test the effectiveness of new approaches to improve outcomes for children exposed to violence in real world community-based settings. The national evaluation is being conducted by RAND and supported through OJJDP research funding. The project helps communities implement collaborative and evidence-based practices across the service continuum.

The Denver Probation Juvenile & Family Treatment Accountability for Safer Communities (TASC) proposes the Denver Safe Start project to identify, screen, assess, and treat the children of Denver drug court families for exposure to violence and the resulting trauma that comes from parental and caregiver substance abuse and justice system involvement. Denver Safe Start will provide a strategic enhancement to evidence based programming for children ages 0 - 17 & their families through the provision of the Strengthening Family Coping Resources (SFCR) intervention, enhanced with the integration of the Law Enforcement Advocate (LEA) model. This family centered approach will address the immediate needs of children & youth who have been exposed to violence, as well as provide treatment and intervention to help break generational cycles of substance abuse, criminal system involvement and other risk factors for the entire family. The overall goal of the project is to prevent and reduce childrens exposure to violence through a family centered approach among the courts, probation, treatment providers & law enforcement. Progress towards this goal will be measured through outcomes related to decreases in trauma symptoms, program engagement and retention rates, increases in family coping resources & participation in the national Safe Start evaluation.
NCA/NCF

Date Created: September 12, 2010