By Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH; CCFV Advisory Board Chair
Any new endeavor presents challenges. Support and guidance from experts can reduce difficulties and enhance a new organizations odds of success. In recognition of this, The Children’s Center on Family Violence (CCFV) co- directors, Karen Jarmoc (CEO, Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence) and Dr. Nina Livingston, MD (Medical Director, Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center) organized an advisory group comprised of national experts to provide insight and recommendations on center activities and development.
The advisory board will meet quarterly to discuss progress, initiatives and future directions working together to carry out the mission of The CCFV. During the first advisory board meeting in May we discussed the Center’s history, origin, organizational structure and core activities. Advisory board members expressed enthusiasm for CCFV’s unique partnership between a statewide domestic violence coalition and an academic children’s medical center. “The expertise and resources that will be brought to bear on this complex social and public health issue are considerable,” said Karen Jarmoc.
A major Center initiative, being led by the Research & Clinical Cores, is a pilot project that is bringing behavioral health screening and referrals to children at three local domestic violence agencies. Advocates in shelter are using the screening tool to identify children who might benefit from referrals to support their resiliency in the wake of exposure to domestic violence. Early feedback from advocates has been positive, with reports that the screening process is a helpful tool to engage caregivers regarding the well-being of their children, and that older children and adolescents appreciate being asked about how they are doing. Tracking referrals that result from screening and connection to services will help us to understand if this is an effective way to improve services for children entering shelter. There are plans to expand the pilot initiative statewide in September.
The Education and Training core is working to convene a multidisciplinary symposium to educate providers and advocates, share new findings, obtain national expertise, and raise awareness about the impact of family violence on children. This initiative was widely endorsed by advisory board members. The symposium – Opportunities for Enhanced Practice: Supporting Resiliency in Children Exposed to Family Violence – is scheduled for Thursday, September 21, 2017 at the Quinnipiac School of Law, North Haven, CT. We look forward to seeing many of you at the symposium for this exciting training event.