250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612
Children and families in communities of color that are exposed to violence
Miguel is hiding under his bed for the third time in a week.
At 4 years old he isn't scared of monsters or ghosts that may come out at night, but the constant yelling and fighting between his parents.
Miguel hears his mother, Carmen, scream and a plate being thrown. He can also hear his father, Francisco, hitting her.
The police arrive at the scene and Francisco is taken into custody as Miguel watches. A police officer tries to communicate with Carmen but she speaks only Spanish. He then hands Carmen a card with the Oakland Safe Start phone numbers for her to call and seek help for the family. Carmen is at first apprehensive to call the number on the card but hopes that the person on the other end will understand her plea. The call is answered by a bilingual intake coordinator who patiently listens to her story and makes an appointment to visit Miguel and his mother in their home.
After listening to Carmen explain the history of violence in her household and of her immediate basic and emotional needs, the intake coordinator refers her to a Spanish-speaking case manager/therapist at the Jewish Family and Children's Services.
Although Carmen is nervous about involving other people, she agrees to go when the coordinator offers to attend the initial meeting with her. At this meeting, Carmen says she needs housing, food, clothing, legal help, and a job. Stabilizing the mother is the most important first step in situations like Carmen and Miguel's, so the case manager/therapist immediately outlines a family plan with her and the community services that are available. Together they also create a treatment plan so they can address the behavior symptoms that Miguel is expressing as a result of the family violence.
The case manager/therapist not only helps Carmen and Miguel with crisis stabilization but also helps them repair the disruptions in the parent-child relationship and restore a sense of safety for Miguel.
Integrated case management/mental health:
Safe Passages integrates community-based, culturally competent intensive case management with mental health services provided by the same person. Case managers are licensed therapists from Jewish Family and Children's Services who help caregivers understand the effects of trauma on themselves and their children while assisting with stabilizing the family's urgent needs. Case management services include assistance with securing public services (medical, housing, transportation, childcare, emergency funds, legal, and food) and coordinating with other public agency workers. Mental health interventions include dyadic therapy. Multi-language services (in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Japanese) are provided in the home or in community-based organizations depending on the family's preference and safety issues.
A minimum of two hours of case management and mental health clinical supervision are provided to the clinicians each week by a psychotherapist with expertise in children from birth to 5 years of age who have been exposed to trauma and/or violence.