The Cullen Center, Toledo Children's Hospital
The Cullen Center – Toledo Children's Hospital
2150 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
Children exposed to domestic violence and their families
Though he's only 4 years old, Jayden has seen a lot. He's watched his mother descend into a world of drug addiction, failed relationships, and joblessness. He's watched her latest boyfriend assault her. He's watched the police arrest her and take her away.
Now, he lives with his grandmother, Harriett. She doesn't want Jayden to end up in foster care, but she knows that he is a troubled young boy, haunted by his exposure to domestic violence and his mother's chronic drug use.
Harriett worries about her ability to raise him with her limited finances and her health problems. A visiting social worker, noting her concerns, tells Harriett about the Edgewood Center for Children and Families and its Kinship Support Network.
The Kinship Support Network gives grandparents like Harriett, and other people who take full-time care of their relatives' children, access to legal assistance, parenting education, community resources (like summer camps), and other supports.
With guidance from a legal advisor, Harriett establishes a permanent guardianship for Jayden. A community healthcare nurse provides free home visits for her and Jayden. And through the Edgewood Center's Safe Start program, Harriett is able to have a therapist assess Jayden and begin weekly in-home visits designed to address the effects of his exposure to violence.
Over the next year, Harriett talks through the issues she is facing concerning the safety and stability of her family, and when Jayden begins to exhibit behavioral problems, the clinician is there to help her deal with them.
With so many people to lean on at the Edgewood Center, Harriett can finally give Jayden something he's never experienced before: stability.
Case management/support: The program offers families in the Kinship Support Network with children who have been exposed to violence comprehensive in-home assessments and provides/links them with services required to promote family stability. These services include phone calls, home visits, and visits to the child's school. Weekly contact is maintained with the family for a year or until the service plan needs are met.
Kinship Caregiver Services: Services to sup- port relative caregivers include support groups, advocacy services, and respite on weekends and during the week. The program also provides parenting, legal, educational, and medical education.
Child Parent Psychotherapy: Every family participates in home-based psychotherapy that uses the child-parent dyadic approach. This psychotherapy is provided in weekly sessions averaging an hour and engages both a child and a caregiver. Related children in the home and a second caregiver (e.g., grandmother/ grandfather) may be included as recommended by the assessment. Collateral service providers may also be involved, as needed. The key issues addressed in psychotherapy are the caregiver's adoption of developmentally appropriate, non-punitive parenting skills, the encouragement of symbolic play, the capacity to put feelings into words, and the expression of negative feelings in nondestructive ways.