Brooklyn Daily Eagle
By Brooklyn Eagle Staff
August 29, 2022
The Administration for Children’s Services announced on Monday an expansion of the “A Safe Way Forward” program, which seeks to provide support to the survivors of domestic violence and intimate partner violence, along with the “persons causing harm” and their children.
Previously, the project offered services to families in The Bronx and Staten Island. The ACS is now partnering with three providers and will expand to serve families in Brooklyn through MercyFirst.
Other contractors partnering with the ACS through the expansion include Safe Horizon in Staten Island and the Children’s Aid Society location itself in The Bronx.“In our mission to protect children and support families, ACS and our partners are working to address the root causes of family violence while we help survivors and children stay safe. That’s why ‘A Safe Way Forward’ provides services to survivors of intimate partner violence and the children in the household, including information about how to make an effective safety plan, as well as interventions for the persons causing harm so that they can work towards changing their behavior and end the cycle of violence,” said Commissioner Jess Dannhauser.
“I’m pleased by the results of our recent evaluation, which suggests that ‘A Safe Way Forward’ is having a positive impact on families affected by intimate partner violence, and I look forward to expanding the program to three boroughs: Staten Island, the Bronx and now, Brooklyn.”
“Today’s announcement of the expansion of A Safe Way Forward demonstrates the administration’s ongoing commitment to supporting the whole person and whole family,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom.
“Thank you to ACS, to all our provider partners, and to every person served by these programs for reaching out for support. We look forward to having these services be more available across NYC.”
“We applaud the expansion of NYC Administration for Children’s Services ‘A Safe Way Forward’ program,” said Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel. “MercyFirst is honored to partner with ACS to help expand this critical and innovative program in New York City,” said Renée Skolaski, President & CEO of MercyFirst.
“As a child welfare agency that has been working to strengthen Brooklyn families for over 128 years, we are committed to serving families experiencing intimate partner violence so that we can help break the cycle of abuse and trauma, support and rebuild strong and healthy families, and create positive outcomes for the children impacted.”
In 2019, A Safe Way Forward was launched for specifically families receiving court-ordered supervision. According to the ACS, the program was launched over 12 months of research including interviews with over 100 national experts and close collaboration with the Mayor’s office.
The program offers case planning therapeutic services to the survivor, children and person causing harm. The person causing harm being involved, if safe to do so, provides them a greater opportunity to “learn more about the triggers and how their behavior is impacting the family,” according to the ACS.
The goal of the program is to interrupt the intergenerational impact that domestic violence can have on families, specifically to create behavior change and protect the survivor and children. An evaluation by Westat, a research corporation, found that people involved in the program yields positive results and high levels of satisfaction.