Pilot supported by Project Shine, Inc. and The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston
DePelchin Children’s Center, with generous support from two Houston donors, is launching a pilot program focused on preventing repeated instances of child abuse and neglect.
DePelchin’s three-year Together and SAFE pilot will team DePelchin staff with Child Protective Services investigators in Harris County. Investigators are tasked with responding to reports of child abuse and neglect but are often limited in the ongoing support they can provide.
In investigations where the risk for ongoing child abuse and neglect is high, DePelchin’s Together and SAFE team will partner with local investigative units to provide support to families immediately before, and for several months after, an investigation is closed. The services that DePelchin and its community partners will offer include trauma-focused mental health services, family-based therapy, fatherhood engagement, parenting education classes, basic needs, financial literacy, and referrals to additional services as needed.
All services provided by DePelchin will be free of charge.
“Families in which child maltreatment has occurred are at the highest risk for repeated harm, which places them at the highest priority for intervention and help,” said DePelchin President and CEO Jenifer Jarriel. “Many families in this situation lack access to the resources they need to improve their mental health, decrease their stress, and learn effective parenting techniques. DePelchin is excited about partnering with CPS investigations to provide these services and reduce the risk of future child maltreatment.”
The pilot is supported by an $860,000 grant from Project Shine, Inc., which is backed by Houston philanthropists Lara and Bill Perkins, as well as a $750,000 grant from The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston.
“Our aim is to reduce the risk for ongoing child maltreatment and address family needs so that we positively impact the well-being of our community as a whole,” said Jarriel. “We are grateful to Lara and Bill Perkins, The Brown Foundation, and other supporters for making this work possible. And we cannot say enough about the enthusiasm and support from CPS leadership for engaging in this innovative partnership.”
A full-time DePelchin staff member will work arm-in-arm within selected investigative units to serve as the primary case manager for eligible families. The DePelchin staff member will accompany investigators to closing visits for cases and will immediately initiate services for families agreeing to participate.
“We’re excited for this partnership and eager to work with DePelchin to get families the support they need,” said Monica Sanders, the Regional Director overseeing CPS investigations. “Oftentimes we know families need more support than we can offer. Having DePelchin staff embedded within our units will help ensure a seamless transition from an investigation into services and support.”
DePelchin has dedicated one case manager and two full time clinicians to addressing the individualized challenges of Together and SAFE families. Clinicians will use tools and strategies consistent with the successful evidence-based practices that DePelchin uses in other programs, while individualizing and supplementing services to best meet each family’s needs.
DePelchin and CPS will pilot and evaluate the Together and SAFE project over three years, with the possibility of expanding the program statewide after the pilot is complete and if it proves to be effective.