Breaking the Cycle

Reducing effects of children who witness family violence through collective impact

Full Project Name:Breaking the Cycle: Collective impact to reduce effects of childhood witness to family violencePrimary Community Organization:Sojourner Family Peace CenterPrimary Academic Partner:Hillary Petska, MD, MPH, PediatricsAward Amount:$374,055
Award Date
Project Duration:42 months

Project Description Narrative:

A staggering 1 in 4 American children witness family violence, an adverse childhood experience that increases the risk of children continuing the cycle of violence in adulthood. This project will work to mitigate the toxic and intergenerational effects of family violence through the creation of a collective impact initiative to improve data sharing and assure collaborative and consistent interventions when children experience family violence.

Community partners:
Wraparound Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Behavioral Health, Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee Child Advocacy Center, Milwaukee District Attorney's Office, Community Voice

Project Updates:

  • Formed a collective impact workgroup to establish foundational work, including revising the logic model, building rapport, inviting key voices to the table, confirming a group decision-making model, and creating a working list of shared values and expectations amongst workgroup members
  • Established development plan, creating agency-specific action plans with participating partner agencies, securing legal agreements for data sharing among agencies essential for the use of the system
  • Finalized development of a Centralized Data System, standardizing the process to identify children who have experienced family violence and their connection to resources and services
  • Created and launched virtual staff training modules describing how to use the technology and articulating best practices for staff in discussing this topic with clients using trauma-informed and strengths-based approaches
  • Created and disseminated a Children, Trauma, & Family Violence brochure that will be implemented by the Milwaukee Police Department as part of their Standard Operating Procedure in responding to domestic violence incidents as well as a version that will be implemented in practice at various other agencies when serving clients who are either children themselves or are parents/caregivers of minor children
  • Created a "Handle With Care" form to protect student/family privacy while communicating information to a child's school following a traumatic incident

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