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
July2018
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

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


  • Used learnings from survivors of family violence to design and implement a comprehensive needs assessment, referral and data sharing system to be used by the 14 co-located partner agencies at Sojourner Family Peace Center to better identify children who have experienced family violence and connect them to healing resources
  • Launched the Family Peace Center (FPC) Centralized Data System to ensure that every adult served at FPC has their own needs met and is asked about their children and connected to resources, regardless of which agency is interacting with the parent
  • Developed and delivered six core Breaking the Cycle learning series training modules to support staff to have conversations with parents about their children's needs in a way that is reassuring, empathetic and builds rapport

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