Intake by liwenting


									                                             Wisconsin Safe Exchange
                                     & Supervised Visitation Guidelines

                                                    Intake & Orientation

      This guideline presents an overview and suggestions for developing policies and practices pertaining
to intake and family orientation. The Wisconsin Safe Exchange and Supervised Visitation (SEV)
Consulting Committee (CC) is committed to promoting services that build on a family’s strengths while
enhancing the safety for adult and child victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The CC
encourages all SEV service providers to implement strength-based, family supportive language
throughout their literature, marketing materials, policies, and practices. In addition, SEV service
providers are to gain an understanding of the cultural values and traditions of the populations served by
the program and to incorporate practices that respect and enhance the capacity of diverse populations to
access services.
      Throughout this guideline, both “intake” and “orientation” appear to assist readers in defining this
important part of providing SEV services. Some may welcome the use of the word “intake” and struggle
with a more loosely defined structure that is family or victim focused. The CC questioned if the word
“intake” 1) denoted too much power given to staff and too little to families; 2) focused too much on
process, too little on the family needs; and 3) promoted SEV services as agents of control versus agents
of healing and support. The difference in practice between intake and orientation might look somewhat
like the following examples. While both “formats” gather information, the goal of orientation is to build
healthy relationships and create a family/staff partnership in ending the violence and abuse. This
guideline expands on intake/orientation as it pertains to initiating or enhancing SEV services.
     Staff ask family members a series of questions following a form. All questions are to be completed. The time
     allocated allows for little straying from the form. Families may be given the agency SEV guidelines or
     handbook (if they are in print), and are asked to read it. Releases of information are obtained as needed by the
     agency and visitation times are set. Family members’ questions are answered.
   Staff schedule a private meeting with each family member who will be participating. Staff begin the process
   by asking some very general questions like “how are things going in your family?” All family members are
   asked what they would like to gain from participating in SEV services. The orientation handbook is talked
   through with each parent and older child. Services and safety concerns are discussed. A family “plan-of-
   action” is developed that personalizes the agency’s guidelines for each family and family member. A
   partnership is formed between staff and family members.
1. Wisconsin Safe Haven Survey Results on Intake/Orientation (pg.2)
2. Key Considerations In The Intake/Orientation Process (pp.2-5)
   ◊ Orientation with children                      ◊ Considerations in conducting the orientation
   ◊ Orientation with parents                       ◊ Safety parameters
   ◊ Orientation with other family members
3. Wisconsin SEV Consulting Committee Recommendations (pp.5-6)
4. Summary On Intake/Orientation (pp.6-7)
5. Resources On Intake/Orientation (pp.7-8)
     Wisconsin Safe Haven Survey Results on Intake
          The statewide SEV needs assessments revealed a wide range of practices regarding intake. Most
     SEV agencies attempt to serve everyone referred to them. Intake most often involves gathering basic
     information using standardized forms and obtaining signed permission to release/share information with
     other agencies. This is the most common practice among SEV providers responding to the survey. One
     SEV provider indicated that family members are sent the forms and are expected to read them and bring
     the completed forms to the first session. There was limited indication of any orientation process. Children
     were seldom interviewed. Few programs had written parent or child handbooks.
          Focus groups participants shared many suggestions to improve the intake procedure. They were
     most interested in creating an intake process that was more helpful and supportive of their family’s need
     for safety and receiving quality services. Focus group members ask the SEV services, beginning with
     intake be meaningful and help their families heal. Specific suggestions follow:
     ◊ It is important to determine and document who has access
                                                                        Intake appointments are preferably
       to children.                                                     scheduled so that men are interviewed
     ◊ Provide intake and orientation for all family members in         by male staff; women by female staff.
       private. Provide a complete orientation with a parent
                                                                         Staff talk with batterers about making a
       handbook. Include instructions to all family members
                                                                             shift from focusing on themselves or
       (including children) on how to use services, what                   their partner to focusing on building a
       resources and supports are available, and how to access                        relationship with their child.
       them.                                                            Phil Beadle
     ◊ Hire bilingual staff and have them available in all phases       Duluth Family Visitation Center
       of providing services.
     ◊ Too much information gathered during intake can discourage immigrant and non-documented families from
       accessing services. They often fear the information gathered will be used to initiate deportation procedures.
     ◊ The initial contact with the child by a service provider presents hope to the child. Don’t blow it! It is easy for
       children to lose trust. Believe the child. Affirm the child.
     ◊ Kids are constantly in a “fishbowl”; being watched by both parents, social services, teachers, etc. The fishbowl
       begins early on and creates a degree of paranoia. Include parents and children in assessing safety risks and
       developing safety plans for their family.
     ◊ Staff need to be aware of their own cultural biases and expectations when conducting intake.
     ◊ Be aware of possibilities for retaliation to the child by the battering/abusing parent. The child will most likely be
       quizzed by this parent for information. Be prepared to intervene as you are able. Parents and extended family
       members make promises and bribe the child in an attempt to have them choose one parent over the other.
     ◊ Include DV/SA informational videos in resource library. Have videos available in several languages.

     Key Considerations for Intake (Orientation)
          The Wisconsin SEV project guidelines                       and all of the information at one time. Family
     support a philosophy that most parents love their               members will often selectively share information
     children and want to be good parents. SEV                       often based on levels of rapport they feel with
     services should be an agent of family healing                   the SEV staff, and their previous experiences
     and change.                                                     with sharing intimate, often painful information
                                                                     with other service providers.
          The families who are seeking SEV services
     have very complex stories and backgrounds. It                        The orientation meeting with parents and
     will be challenging to gather the “whole” story                 children (individually) is a time for SEV staff to

Wisconsin SEV Guidelines                               Page 2 of 8                                   Intake & Orientation
     gain insight into what the family needs to do to            ◊ What are the objectives of your center? How will
     comply with the court orders (if present), and to             these objectives be included during orientation?
     reduce or eliminate the violence. Many forms                ◊ What do battered/abused parents need from an
     are available that provide guidance on the                  ◊ What does the visiting parent need from the
     common questions covered during “intake”.                     orientation?
     Before reaching for another agency’s form,                  ◊ What do children need from the orientation?
     involve the local consulting (advisory)                     ◊ What information is critical to enhancing family
     committee in determining:                                     safety and meeting family needs for services?

     Orientation with children
          Children coming for SEV services have                   Conduct frequent conversations with children
     experienced some degree of violence or abuse.                utilizing exchange and visitation services. Talk
     Their needs often have been minimized and                    with them about your agency’s approach to
     unaddressed. Include questions that encourage                children expressing their concerns regarding
     the child to talk about their safety, what it is like        their feelings with parents, particularly child-
     to be with each parent, concerns they have                   initiated confrontations.
     regarding exchanges and visitations, and ways                      Explain policies and guidelines as they
     that SEV staff can help. Include conversations               relate to participating in SEV services.
     that help staff to ascertain that the child                  Empathize with children that visitation and
     understands the situation. For example--Why                  exchanges can be difficult for everyone and that
     must we use the visitation center? How long has              SEV staff are available to support them at their
     it been since the child last had                                             request. Share the agency’s
     contact with the parent? What was            THE INTAKE/ORIENTATION
                                                                                  policies for staff contact and
                                                  PROCESS IS A TIME FOR
     that contact like? What questions                                            accessibility with children during
                                                  INFORMATION GATHERING
     does the child have for the visiting         AND SHARING. SEV STAFF          non-visit times. Share with
     parent?                                      TALK WITH EACH FAMILY           children your policies on
                                                MEMBER WHO WILL                 confidentiality, releases of
          Offer children visitation options.    PARTICIPATE IN EXCHANGES
     Never force a child to visit with a        OR VISITATIONS. FAMILY
                                                                                information, and privilege. Do
     parent if they are afraid to visit or      MEMBERS LEARN ABOUT             what you say you will do. Do not
     resolute about not visiting. Identify      THE SERVICES AVAILABLE          do what you say you will not do.
     hand signals that a child can use if       AND PARTICIPATION               Talk with children about
                                                GUIDELINES, AND SHARE
     they are uncomfortable with the visit                                      changes in your agreements
                                                THEIR CONCERNS
     and want it to end. Give children          REGARDING PARTICIPATION.
                                                                                before you take action.
     options in the length of the visit.
     Orientation with parents
           Hold orientations with each parent in private. Start by asking the parent to talk about their family
     situation and their concerns. Listen without judging them. Review the exchange and visitation center
     philosophy, guidelines, and policies. Talk about safety concerns and develop a safety plan when needed.
     Approach all parents with respect and work to model open and honest communication skills starting with
     the orientation. Strive to build respectful relationships with all participants. Set a warm, informal,
     friendly tone. Consider scheduling orientation sessions so that men have their initial contact with male
     staff and women with female staff.
          Sometimes the visiting parent may be the survivor; the custodial parent may actually be the
     battering/abusing parent. Therefore, it is crucial for staff to identify the impact of domestic violence and
     sexual abuse within the SEV families and be able to recognize battering, controlling, and grooming
     behaviors. Staff should have special training in how to avoid corroborating with batterer/abusers and how
     to be firm, yet respectful.

Wisconsin SEV Guidelines                            Page 3 of 8                               Intake & Orientation
           Allocate enough time during the first visit to build rapport, exchange needed information, and
     address the parent’s questions. Explain policies and guidelines as they relate to participating in SEV
     services. Empathize with parents that visitation and exchanges can be difficult for everyone and that SEV
     staff are available to support them. Share the agency’s policies for staff contact and accessibility with
     children during non-visit times. Share agency policies and practices on parent coaching and education,
     staff involvement in the visitation, documentation, confidentiality, internal and external referrals and
     releases of information, staff-to-family member privilege, critical incidents, and visit termination. Talk
     with each parent about your agency’s approach to children expressing their concerns regarding their
     feelings with parents, particularly child-initiated confrontations. Let parents know the resources that are
     available for them to use on site or to check out and take home (books, videos, games, etc.). Develop a
     family plan of action that builds on their family’s strengths, yet protects the children and adult victim
     from further harm.

     Orientation with other family members

           Extended family members and new partners of parents can be important people in the lives of
     children. Design SEV services to be flexible enough to include these people in SEV services when
     parents and/or children request contact. Consider the potential positive impact of working with extended
     family members in improving the child’s situation and resiliency once families are no longer involved in
     visits. Each person wanting to visit or transport should participate in the intake and orientation process.
           The counter to including family members in the visitation is that abusive behaviors can often be
     intergenerational with family scripts that minimize or deny the existence of abusive behaviors. Child
     victimization can be exacerbated when allowed contact with extended family members who deny or
     unconditionally support the batterer/abuser’s harmful behaviors. Staff should also discuss the possible
     visitation of extended family members with the child(ren) and follow their lead. Consider whether
     agency policy will include conducting criminal records checks on extended family members. Balance the
     potential positive impact of these visitations with the possibility of further grooming or victimization of
     the child.

     Considerations in conducting the orientation

         Experienced SEV providers suggest:
     1. Give ample time for survivors to talk about their victimization and the impact it has had
         on their children and their ability to parent their children. Talk about any concerns the
         victim has pertaining to child contact with the other parent.

         Conduct this portion of the orientation without writing things down. Listen attentively for affect and content.
         Consider asking a battering parent some additional questions: how long has it been since you saw your child?
         What was that like? What questions do you think your child will have? How will you answer those questions?
         When finished, briefly summarize the themes of what the parent said. Ask for permission to write down
         specific incidents that might be of help in working with the child(ren) or the other parent. Focus on gathering
         the information staff need to support the family in healing, in helping family members to set boundaries with the
         abusive parent, and in reducing or preventing further abuse.

     2. Find out what kinds of support each parent would like from SEV staff to assist in making
        the visit meaningful for the children.

         Do this with respect, acknowledging that all parents have skills and positive experience in working with their
         child(ren). Help parents to focus on meeting child(ren)’s needs rather than on meeting their own needs. Give
         them permission to ask for assistance when needed. Will the visiting parent need staff support in managing a
         larger number of children? What is the “right” length of time for the first and subsequent visits? Clarify any

Wisconsin SEV Guidelines                             Page 4 of 8                                  Intake & Orientation
         limitations on staff involvement.

     3. Provide a written orientation manual for each parent to take home that will provide
        information on SEV center services and guidelines.

         Discuss any agency visitation and exchange policies in place. Be sure to talk about scheduling, documentation,
         releases of information, etc. Be candid on areas where there is flexibility and where there is no flexibility. It
         will be helpful to provide parents tips on how to prepare their child(ren) for the visit, things to do during the
         visit, what limits (if any) your agency puts on conversation content, gifts, visitors, etc. Some programs also
         include parenting resources in the manual. Be sure this manual is available in the dominant language of the
         family. In some cases, it may be helpful to have a video made to overview certain components of orientation.
         All materials developed and used should be sensitive to the ethnic communities accessing the services.

     4. Complete written documentation.

         This information may include contact information, emergency contacts, orders of protection in place, etc. The
         extent of “information needed” varies greatly by program and should be determined, with careful thought, by
         the SEV services consulting committee. This may be the time to talk about releases of information to other
         supporting or referring agencies, and develop written safety plans. Examine the necessity of retaining
         information on families, who will have access to it, and the possible negative impact this information
         could have on victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse.

     Safety Parameters

          Most families will be court-ordered to use your services and may not be happy about it. Understand
     the post-separation escalation of violence, manipulation, probability of stalking and its impact on family
     members. Keep all SEV staff alert to high-risk cases. Follow the agency safety plan. Create strategies
     for supporting families that need extra help and for intervening if a critical incident should arise.
           Determine local thresholds of safety/risk through consulting committee discussions on policy and
     practice. If, during orientation, staff determine that the exchange or visitation pose serious safety risks to
     the child(ren) or parent or SEV staff, agency guidelines should give staff the authority to discontinue the
     exchange/visit. It is important to establish credibility and relationships with the local referral sources so
     that staff can make these decisions in the best interest of the child without straining interagency
     relationships. What alternative interventions will be available to families where it is determined that a
     family’s participation in SEV services poses excessive risk?
          It is of critical safety importance for all family members that the batterer/abuser not be able to access
     any current personal information pertaining to the victim or children. SEV staff must be alert for attempts
     by the batterer/abuser to obtain current victim residential, employment, telephone, or internet information
     through the children, other family members, friends, SEV staff or referral sources.
          Listen carefully to what the DV/SA victims and other family members have to say about tactics
     previously used by the battering/abusing parent to stalk, harass, or abuse them. Use this information as a
     foundation to create safety plans for family members and SEV staff. It may also be helpful to connect
     high-risk families with domestic violence or sexual abuse advocacy agencies at this time to explore
     obtaining orders of protection for domestic violence, stalking or harassment.

     WI SEV Consulting Committee Recommendations
          The Wisconsin Consulting Committee overwhelming supports a proactive, respectful and strengths-
     based approach when creating policies, procedures and practices surrounding the topics of intake,
     screening, referrals, and confidentiality. The committee acknowledges that there are legal parameters to

Wisconsin SEV Guidelines                              Page 5 of 8                                  Intake & Orientation
     consider, however, the consensus is that “best practice” in Wisconsin, will incorporate these ideals.
          In practical terms, implement language changes that expand the service recipient’s voice throughout
     the system. For example, replace “intake” with “orientation”; “interview” with “information gathering”;
     “client information” with “family information”; “client” with “participant”. It is critical that SEV
     agencies take a leadership role in bringing community members together to discuss the foundation of
     beliefs, practices, and expected outcomes of SEV efforts, at the beginning of providing services, and as an
     ongoing practice.
          If the SEV services prescribe to being “child-focused”, the
     child’s perspective and input on the situation must be included             We provide a neutral setting
     throughout the process. The philosophical foundation has                    for you to visit with your child.
     significant implications on approaches to information gathering and         Your behavior in that setting
     orientation. Several examples of intake forms and orientation               speaks for itself.
     packets are available through the SEV Resource Center (CTF
                                                                                                     Sandy Stetzer
     website listed in this document). The Wisconsin Consulting
                                                                                  Children’s Service Society of WI
     Committee makes the following recommendations regarding
     orientation and information gathering.
     ◊ Include both parents and all participating children      ◊ Suggest that the key goal of the orientation is to
       in the information gathering and orientation               build trust and move the focus of SEV services to
       process. All extended family members wanting to            meeting current and future needs of the child(ren).
       participate in the visitation process should have        ◊ Determine what information is most helpful and
       some degree of orientation.                                needed to provide quality services-- no more.
     ◊ Gather information in a confidential manner with           Focus information gathering on what is needed to
       staff being straightforward on their restrictions          protect the child and non-battering/abusing
       and obligations.                                           parent, to hold batterer/abusers accountable, and
     ◊ Reduce the use of forms during the initial                 to assist and support family members in
       information gathering process. Attentively listen          recovering from previous violence, reducing future
       to the information shared. Document key points             violence, and building on family strengths.
       later.                                                   ◊ Staff will need significant training on batterer
     ◊ Orientation should overview participation                  behaviors and tactics prior to conducting
       guidelines, procedures, and expectations for all           interviews and orientation with battering/abusing
       participants. Confidentiality policies are essential       parents. It is imperative to providing quality SEV
       to share with families at the very beginning of the        services that SEV staff avoid corroborating with
       first contact with them.                                   batterers and sexual abuse perpetrators.
                                                                  Partnerships with victim advocacy agencies can
     ◊ Develop a method for determining risk. Linkages            provide staff support and ongoing information on
       with domestic violence and sexual assault                  this. SEV staff must understand the impact that
       intervention programs are critical.                        ongoing face-to-face contact with batterer/abusers
                                                                  can have on staff and family members.

     Summary on Intake (Orientation)
          Consider SEV service orientation to be an ongoing process. Strive to make the first meeting with
     parents and children warm and friendly. Listen to their concerns and fears regarding service participation.
     Help parents and children to understand the role of policies and guidelines in providing services and
     enhancing safety. Invite all participants to invest in keeping the child(ren) safe by following the agency
     guidelines and working with staff until they no longer need services. Agency guidelines have (hopefully)
     been developed to allow for modification of services based on family need and circumstance. If this is so,
     invite family members to work with staff throughout their tenure with the agency to meet changing family
     needs for services. Ask family members who are out of crisis for insights on how to provide more

Wisconsin SEV Guidelines                              Page 6 of 8                             Intake & Orientation
     effective and supportive services.
          Many families in need of SEV services also have limited resources. Limitations in access to reliable
     transportation, isolation from friends and family members, uninsured illnesses and disease, alcohol and/or
     drug abuse, trauma-induced mental health or behavioral concerns, limited access to laundry facilities,
     back rent due, eviction notices, utility turn-offs, water disconnects, etc. may also be part of the family’s
     “picture”. It is important to understand the role these “other” factors play in a family’s ability to change
     behaviors, comply with service expectations, or even make a session.
          Orientation must provide both the family and the SEV staff an opportunity to identify and talk about
     the entire family situation and develop a plan that takes into account the “whole picture”. Consider
     Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when working with a family (
     ). Are the expectations being discussed realistic for this family to achieve given their current situation?
     Or, will attempting to comply with SEV service expectations push this family into deeper stress and
     malfunction? Most importantly, what other community resources are available to team up with the family
     and support them?
          The Wellstone Family Safety Program (WFSP) ( ) Grand
     Rapids, Minnesota is a program of the Advocates for Family Peace non-profit organization. Review their
     website to gain insight on an approach that focuses on working with the whole family (as an agent of
     healing) to end interpersonal violence. WFSP staff provide a wide array of services for all family
     members, yet have agency guidelines that enhance safety and accountability by proactively confronting
     battering/abusive behaviors. Copies of the WFSP orientation manuals and forms are available through
     the WI SEV Resource Library.
           Lastly, family participants who observe SEV and other agency staff modeling and integrating
     healthy communication and conflict resolution skills are more likely to internalize these practices into
     their own lives. The experience of the battering/abusing parent greatly affects the rest of the family.
     Balance respect and working for behavior change in families with agency standards that prevent family
     members from re-victimizing and abusing each other. Work with all family members to help them meet
     their immediate needs, improve their skills, and increase the probability of long-term behavior change that
     ends violence and abuse.

     Resources on SEV Intake (Orientation)
       Agency promotes safety, equity, and peace in personal relationships. Grand Rapids MN. Home of the Wellstone
       Family Safety Program.
       Campbell, Jacquelyn C., Daniel Webster, Jane Koziol-McLain, et al, National Institute of Justice
        Lundy Bancroft and Jay G. Silverman, MINCAVA Electronic Clearinghouse Document Library
       Curriculum guidelines and Tools for Batterer Intervention Programs, Family Violence Prevention Fund, 2004.
        H. Lien Bragg, Office on Child Abuse & Neglect, U.S. Department of Health & Family Services , 2003,

Wisconsin SEV Guidelines                             Page 7 of 8                                 Intake & Orientation
        Minnesota Rural Project for Women and Child Safety, Annelies K. Hagemeister, et al, 2003.
        Orientation manual and selected forms are available through the Wisconsin SEV Resource Center, HTTP://WCTF.STATE.WI.US
         Schecter, Susan:
       Joy D. Osofsky, A review of the research on child exposure to family, community, and media violence and the
       factors that protect children from the negative effects of such exposure.
         Nancy K.D. Lemon, A description of case law, as well as innovative court and law enforcement programs, that address the
         effects of domestic violence on children.
        Lyon, E.
        Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Programs Technical Assistance Provider.
       Raphael, Jody:
         Sexual abuse technical assistance, 600 Williamson St. Ste N-2, Madison WI 53703,
         Domestic violence technical assistance, 307 S. Patterson St #1, Madison WI 53703,
     The Wisconsin Safe Exchange and Supervised Visitation Project was initiated by Wisconsin Office of
     Justice Assistance and funded through the Federal Violence Against Women Act Safe Havens initiative.
     An interdisciplinary statewide consulting committee has guided the process from its beginning in May
     2003. Initial project facilitation and product development was completed by Kieffer Consulting and
     Facilitation, LLC, Strum Wisconsin. Additional partners in SEV project development include Wisconsin
     Children’s Trust Fund, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Wisconsin Coalition Against
     Sexual Assault, Wisconsin Department of Justice – Office of Crime Victim Services, and Wisconsin
     Department of Health and Family Services.

     Wisconsin Safe Exchange and Supervised Visitation Project purpose:

     •   To assess status of SEV services available to families experiencing domestic violence and/or sexual

     •   To develop guidelines for developing and sustaining new SEV services Statewide.

     •   To develop a sustainable network that provides technical assistance and support to SEV services

     Access SEV information online through                HTTP://WCTF.STATE.WI.US

Wisconsin SEV Guidelines                                  Page 8 of 8                                    Intake & Orientation

To top