Dear Allies and Friends,
My colleague Tim Decker often notes, “If you want to change your destination, you may need to start in a different place.”
Too often, human services and systems do the opposite, starting by working on what makes us different—
the diagnosis, problem or issue that separates the “client” from the “provider.”
At FFI, we have an alternative. We start from a core belief, (this one inspired by Missouri’s Division of Youth Services): we all are more alike than we are different. Sure, some of us are struggling with things that others aren’t, and privilege is real and alive and impacts access to resources, dignity and more. But services need to focus on people, not simply problems.
FFI’s partnerships and impact span domestic and sexual violence, child welfare, housing, juvenile justice and other issues and systems. It’s not a diffuse approach, though, because throughout our work we are bringing the attention back to people, and on how increasing wellbeing allows us to support people in overcoming violence, strengthening families, making housing sustainable, reducing recidivism and more.
Our projects and our partners, each and all, are shining a light on how, in a world where people are generally identified by what’s different about them, it’s really important to also hold what binds us together—
a universal, basic striving for wellbeing. That goes for you, me and everyone who is involved in the systems we seek to change.
- Katya and the FFI Team
Spotlight on Partners & Projects
How Do Survivors of Domestic Violence Define Success: Report coming soon!
In 2012, FFI launched a multi-year project in California to answer two simple yet fundamental and unexamined questions: How to survivors of domestic violence (DV) define success for themselves? And, do others in the DV field—
practitioners, policymakers and funders—
define success for DV survivors the same way? Over 350 people took part in workshops and interviews, and what we learned challenges some of the most basic assumptions of the domestic violence field. The project findings and recommendations have significant potential for changing and improving systems’ response to survivors. Be on the look out—
the report will available within the next two weeks and posted on our website. FFI project contact: Anna Melbin.
Critical Moment Reflection Workshops in California: Men who use violence
When we’re talking about people at the deep-end-of-the-deep-end, we’re talking about people, families and communities impacted by multiple forms of violence. While not everyone who has survived violence uses violence against others (most don’t), and while not everyone who perpetrates violence against others has also been a victim, the overlap is striking. For example, up to 93% of kids in the juvenile justice system are trauma survivors; men who experienced physical abuse as kids are twice as likely to assault their partners as adults. This should lead us all to ask important questions about prevention, intervention and what life-success look and feel like to someone who perpetrates violence. With funding from The California Endowment, FFI ran a pilot of our ”Critical Moment Reflection” workshops with men who’ve used violence in their relationships and with providers of services to these men. For the men, success moments were about achievements (e.g. being the best at something, or providing financially for others) and personal connections (especially with their children). For the practitioners, the success moments they identified for the men with whom they worked were about breakthroughs and insights about taking responsibility for negative behavior, and about the men not blaming other people when they get out of control. FFI project contact: Audrey Jordan
Massachusetts Systems Change: Steps forward for people living at the intersection of violence and homelessness
An Integration Task Force (ITF)
made up of four state agencies, three statewide coalitions of service providers and FFI are digging into ITF’s mandate to improve how the state responds to survivors of sexual or domestic violence who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. The ITF’s three working groups—Assessment, Policy and Training—are developing trainings on the Five Domains of Wellbeing for state agency personnel; figuring out how to bring full frame
assessments into government services, so that people seeking services are treated as whole people (not reduced to their immediate specific problem); and developing policy and procurement tools to help ensure that policies and funding support a truly integrated approach to human services. View the ITF member roster
. FFI project contact: Katya Smyth.
Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS): Going further and deeper with the Five Domains of Wellbeing
Missouri DYS—the state’s juvenile justice system—was one of FFI’s first partners and they continue to work with us to demonstrate how a focus on wellbeing can strengthen systems and improve outcomes. DYS is modelling for other states how we can integrate the Five Domains of Wellbeing at all levels of a state system. After developing assessments and treatment around the Five Domains of Wellbeing that have been in place for over a year, FFI and DYS are launching a 15-hour training for staff, statewide, to teach them how to use the Five Domains of Wellbeing in engaging families, counseling and working with youth, and supporting youth in making decisions that will increase their wellbeing and reduce recidivism. Between this launch, ongoing Critical Moment Reflection workshops (see above) with families involved in the juvenile justice system, and our new work with Children’s Division (see below), we’re beginning to call Missouri our second home! FFI project contact: Katya Smyth
Missouri Children's Division: Strengthening family engagement, increasing family wellbeing
What is child welfare? Too often, the state agency tasked with child welfare is seen as “the child welfare system.” But a full frame
perspective on child welfare recognizes that schools matter. So do the courts, and domestic violence programs, and health care, housing, mental health and other services and, of course, families themselves. FFI, in partnership with Missouri’s Children’s Division, and with support of Casey Family Programs has recently completed two of seven regional day-long events that are informing a new vision for child welfare in Missouri. These events bring together a diverse group of community members to learn about the Five Domains of Wellbeing, watch the award-winning documentary Rich Hill
, and then take part in a discussion of the film through the lens of the Five Domains of Wellbeing. The events wrap up with a group exploration of what would be possible if the people, organizations, and agencies committed to child welfare started to view and work with families in the full frame
of their lives. Tammy Mello of the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services (and formerly of that state’s child welfare agency) participated as FFI’s first “interstate learning partner,” an affiliation category we hope to expand next year. Ms. Mello helped provide additional context and perspective to the discussions, and is bringing positive lessons back to Massachusetts. FFI project contact: Katya Smyth
Domestic and Sexual Violence Cohort Demonstration Project: Assessment workgroup underway
With leadership from FFI and the Center for Hope and Healing
, the national DSV Cohort has launched a workgroup focused on improving program assessment tools and related practices to reflect the Five Domains of Wellbeing. The workgroup is cataloguing current assessment and intake tools, and examining areas for enhancing Full Frame practice, potentially adapting parts of the tools FFI and MO DYS have already created in Missouri. The DSV Cohort as a whole has activities scheduled through the end of the year, including a discussion led by FFI ally Jennifer Rose, on evolving our language and commonly-used (but problematic) terms, such as “client”, “survivor,” “batterer,” and “intake,” to better reflect
working with people in the Full Frame of their lives. FFI project contact: Anna Melbin.
Greater Boston Full Frame Network: Getting at the heart of Full Frame practice
FFI presented two advanced trainings on the Five Domains of Wellbeing for GBFFN member organizations. Front line staff from each organization as well as program managers and directors attended, and helped begin to document Full Frame practice in Greater Boston. Thank you to Julie’s Family Learning Program
and On The Rise
for hosting us! FFI project contact: Anna Melbin.
Making the Case and Spreading the Word
Interest in Shifting Focus from Safety to Wellbeing Grows
FFI staff have been in demand this fall by state domestic violence coalitions, giving presentations at 4 annual conferences and other meetings over the past two months. Some workshops have been “standing-room-only,” and there is a great deal of resonance and energy in the field to learn from what goes well in people’s lives, instead of just focusing on crisis response and harm reduction. We thank our allies at the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
, the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
and the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
for hosting us at their conferences; and Jane Doe, Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence,
for hosting us for an in-depth staff conversation about the Five Domains of Wellbeing.
A “shout out” also to Clare Namugga from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
for including information about the Five Domains of Wellbeing in her presentation at this year’s National Sexual Assault Conference.
Upcoming Event: Women & Girls: Effective Approaches Addressing Women & Poverty
On November 10 in Boston, Associated Grantmakers (AGM) is hosting an event featuring four speakers, including FFI’s Katya Smyth, to engage philanthropy in a discussion of women living in poverty, and the need for a gender-informed response. For more information about the event and registration (open only to grantmakers), visit the AGM events calendar
Capturing a "Full Frame" Moment
REACH Beyond Domestic Violence
REACH Beyond Domestic Violence participates in FFI’s Greater Boston Full Frame Network as well as in our Domestic & Sexual Violence Cohort. FFI’s Network Engagement Manager Leora Rifkin wrote a blog post recently after hearing a full frame story about a REACH advocate and a family she was working with. Check it out here, and let us know if you have a full frame moment or story to share.
Our Team News
New faces at FFI: Hooray for the interns!
We’ve recently welcomed the talents of interns Lynne Marie Wannamaker (Boston College Graduate School for Social Work) and Kiana Dobson (Boston University School of Public Health) to the FFI team. Lynne Marie is an accomplished anti-violence educator with over twenty years of experience helping individuals and organizations develop skills to avoid, interrupt, defend against and heal from interpersonal violence. Her social work program focus is Macro Practice: Social Innovation and Leadership, and she’ll be working across several FFI projects for the entire academic year. Kiana is a Master’s of Public Health candidate who learned about FFI while interning last summer on the MA Integration Task Force. She is working this semester on the Missouri Children’s Division project.
We thank them for working and learning with us!
Spread the love of giving: December 2 is #GivingTuesday
We couldn’t do this without you! Over 35% of FFI’s funding comes from individuals. We are tremendously grateful to our financial investors
who are helping make systems change possible. Please consider making a gift to FFI so that our work can touch more lives.
We are gearing up for #GivingTuesday, December 2—
join us in celebrating this global day of giving and collective action to make real change in our communities.