In the first collaboration of its kind, a Domestic Violence Response Team-Children Exposed to Domestic Violence (DVRT-CEDV) program has been developed by Sacramento County Child Protective Services (CPS), Division Manager, Kim Pearson and her team, in partnership with A Community For Peace (ACFP), and Citrus Heights Police Department. Through this collaboration, these agencies hope to ensure that domestic violence victims and their families will receive services and support they need in a domestic violence situation.
This new collaborative program, funded by a grant from The California Emergency Management Agency, allows for a CPS Emergency Response Social Worker to work remotely from the A Community for Peace organization. The social worker will assist with identification and quick response for children exposed to domestic violence. This partnership has also lead to the creation of customized training for CPS social workers with ACFP and the Citrus Heights Police Department.
“It is collaborations like this and people like Kim Pearson who inspire the kind of transformation that will better our community and help shield children from the ravages of domestic violence,” said Bradley J. Hudson, County Executive Officer.
Working together with A Community for Peace, CPS hopes to dispel the misconception in the community that CPS automatically removes children from homes where domestic violence is present. This misconception is not only inaccurate, it is dangerous. If victims of domestic violence believe their children will be taken away when they report the violence to authorities, they are more likely to stay in a dangerous situation, putting both themselves and their children at greater risk.
“For the non-offending parent in a domestic violence situation, it’s ideal for them to engage in services and create a safety plan with CPS,” says Kim Pearson, Division Manager, Child Protective Services. “It reduces trauma to children if they are able to stay with the non-offending parent.”
For her efforts, collaboration and commitment, Kim Pearson was selected by ACFP as one of their Guardian of Hope honorees at the Annual Celebration of Hope dinner on October 24. Her collaborative efforts have led to systematic and institutional changes that will ensure victims and their families can and will access services.
Elaine Whitefeather, executive director for A Community for Peace said, “Kim led her team with courage and determination needed to implement our cross training and create some sustainable changes by placing a CPS worker in our agency. These long-term institutionalized changes have lessened fear and debunked many myths about CPS among our clients.”
This new era of collaboration will hopefully lead to the expansion of the Domestic Violence Response Team-Children Exposed to Domestic Violence (DVRT-CEDV) program to other areas in Sacramento County and serve as a model for future collaborative programs. It takes multiple agencies to keep children in Sacramento County safe; the more community partners involved, the safer children in our community will be.