How does a collaborative effort start planting the foundation for sustainability early on?
In this podcast episode, we learn about the work of Child Safety Forward, a four-year demonstration initiative that engaged five sites across the U.S. in research, planning, and implementation around place-based strategies aimed at reducing child injury and fatality from abuse and neglect. The initiative, funded by the Department of Justice (DOJ) was launched in October 2019 by the DOJ’s Office for Victims of Crime.
With the project now closing, we talk with folks from Child Safety Forward to learn what factors were most helpful in building their initial collaborative efforts, and what set the demonstration sites up to continue the work after this funding ended.
Joining this discussion are:
- Jasmine Brosnan, Evaluation Program Manager, The Child Abuse Prevention Center
- Romero Davis, Director of Practice Excellence, Social Current
- Stacy Phillips, Victim Justice Program Manager, Office for Victims of Crime – United States Department of Justice
Please find a transcript of this talk further down this page.
Resources and Footnotes
- Child Safety Forward
- Child Safety Forward Implementation Study Final Report
- Utilizing Collective Impact to Reduce Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
- The Child Abuse Prevention Center|
- Social Current
- Podcast: The Power of Parent Engagement
More on Collective Impact
Welcome to the Collective Impact Forum podcast, here to share resources to support social change makers working on cross-sector collaboration.
The Collective Impact Forum is a nonprofit field-building initiative that is co-hosted in partnership by the nonprofit consulting firm FSG and the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions.
In this episode we’re learning more about the work of Child Safety Forward, a four-year demonstration initiative that launched in 2019 and engaged five sites across the U.S. in research, planning, and implementation around place-based strategies aimed at reducing child injury and fatality from abuse and neglect. With the project now closing, we talk with folks from Child Safety Forward to learn what factors were most helpful in building their initial collaborative efforts, and what set the demonstration sites up to continue the work after this four-year funding ended.
Joining this discussion are Jasmine Brosnan from The Child Abuse Prevention Center, Romero Davis from Social Current, and Stacy Phillips from the Office for Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice. Moderating this discussion is Collective Impact Forum executive director Jennifer Splansky Juster. Let’s tune in.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Well, hello, and welcome to today’s podcast. I am Jennifer Juster, executive director of the Collective Impact Forum.
In today’s podcast I am delighted that we are uplifting the work of Child Safety Forward. In October 2019 the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime launched a Child Safety Forward, a three-year–extended to four–demonstration initiative to develop multidisciplinary strategies and responses to address serious or near-death injuries as a result of child abuse or neglect and to reduce the number of child fatalities. In short, this project supported communities to come together to prevent childhood injury and death through place-based collaborative approaches.
The five participating sites across the United States for Child Safety Forward were Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, Cook County Health in Illinois, Indiana State Department of Health, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Sacramento County’s Child Abuse Prevention Council in California.
Child Safety Forward also invested in robust technical assistance for these five sites and the initiative overall. As a disclaimer, I have the amazing privilege of being part of that technical assistance team and getting to know the leaders of Child Safety Forward across the country.
I should also add that this work might sound a bit familiar to folks because we hosted a podcast on parent engagement with amazing parent and community leaders from Child Safety Forward Hartford in June 2022. I’ll put in a plug to listen to that one if you haven’t because it is another great conversation.
Now here we are in late 2023 and this project is coming to a close and today we will learn more about the work nationally and dive into the work much more deeply in Sacramento, California. After sharing context about the project, I’m eager to hear from our guests about how this work has been built for sustainability from the start, and to hear some lessons learned along the way.
So today, joining me for today’s conversation are three leaders from Child Safety Forward. Each will introduce themselves in more detail in a moment, but it is my pleasure to welcome Stacy Phillips, victim justice program manager, Office of Victims of Crime at the U.S. Department of Justice; Romero Davis, director of practice excellence at the national nonprofit, Social Current; and Jasmine Brosnan, evaluation program manager at the Child Abuse Prevention Center in Sacramento, California.
So, welcome everyone. I’d love to start by asking you each to introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what brought you to your current work. Why don’t we start with you, Stacy?
Stacy Phillips: My name is Stacy Phillips and as you said, I’m the victim justice program manager at the Office for Victims of Crime, which is under the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice.
At OVC, I deploy solutions and to kind of challenging systemic issues like crime victimization issues. I work collaboratively across our discretionary program and our human trafficking team to really kind of create and implement and monitor a broad range of programs. Super excited to be here with you.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Thank you, Stacy. Let’s welcome Romero.
Romero Davis: Hey, Jennifer. I appreciate it and thank you. It is a pleasure to be here with such wonderful people. As you mentioned, my name is Romero Davis. I’m a director of practice excellence with Social Current, who was mentioned as a national nonprofit. I’ve been working in the family and community space, you know, and really closely with communities of color that are in particular struggling with different types of elements that we see, you know, in areas around social determinants of health, and justice, and equity, and all those wonderful things. But I also really value the opportunity to bring some lived experience to the table and the work and that’s what really brings me here. Again, it is a pleasure and looking forward to our time today.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Lastly, but not least, Jasmine. We’d love to learn a little bit more about what brought you to the work in Sacramento.
Jasmine Brosnan: Thank you so much, and thanks for inviting Sacramento to the table. I’m Jasmine Brosnan, evaluation program manager here at the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento, which is a part of the Child Abuse Prevention Center, and also the project coordinator for the Child Safety Forward work here in Sacramento County.
In Sacramento, the Child Abuse Prevention Council does a lot of backbone facilitation with things. I came to this work particularly because of my work with our child death review team and other evaluation projects that all have a part and serve a role in this work. I’m lucky and grateful that I was asked to be a part of this project and Sacramento has hugely benefited from this project.
Jennifer Splanksy Juster: Stacy, maybe we could start with you telling us more about Child Safety Forward. I’ll leave it to you to do the broad overview before we dive into learning more about other dimensions of the work.
Stacy Phillips: Yes. Well, thanks so much, and I’m going to start with just a brief touch on the Office of Victims of Crime because we’re a small but mighty office and we are led by our amazing director, Kristina Rose. So our mission is that we are committed to enhancing the nation’s capacity to assist crime victims and to provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime.
Back in 2016, which I’m sure Romero will probably touch on, but a publication came out that was produced by the commission to eliminate child abuse and neglect, and it was called Within Our Reach, which was a national strategy to eliminate child abuse and neglect fatalities. So at the time, there was myself, another awesome colleague of mine, Bethany Case, and our previous director, Joye Frost. We actually all had child welfare background and so this really hit home with us. The three of us put our thinking caps on and learned a lot from reading that report about what was missing and so we designed this program and so what it did was what we wanted to do is we wanted to really build on the past efforts and any existing partnerships and really kind of establish this robust data-driven but community-oriented approach to address recurring injuries and serious injuries and fatalities. That’s kind of a broad overview.
Our hope was that there would be this kind of look at maybe the previous five years of fatalities and serious injuries in different areas across the country and really help not just examine that data but look at the trends and find out if there are ways that we could develop different strategies and responses to really address those cases, and so that’s kind of how it came to fruition. We started the demonstration initiative in 2019. We funded the five sites that you listed. We also funded our technical assistance provider, Social Current, which I’m sure Romero will touch on, and we also funded an implementation study because we really wanted to learn a lot from these sites.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Thank you, Stacy. That’s very, very helpful context.
Jasmine, can you tell a little bit more about how the work has taken shape in Sacramento?
Jasmine Brosnan: Yeah, absolutely. So Sacramento County started our Child Safety Forward work is spearheaded by our Sacramento County Prevention Cabinet, and so the prevention cabinet started in January of 2019 after a group of folks, about 10 people, attended a summit and came back to Sacramento County really wanting to develop a plan for prevention in our country. This is before a lot of the other initiatives that are now in motion in Sacramento and in California, but it was a great innovative idea and some really dedicated folks.
As they started convening and coming together to come up with ideas, there was a need for some external structure. We needed some support and some help to kind of visualize and come up with all of the amazing things that with all these visions that folks had in mind.
So the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento helped apply and became the backbone organization for Child Safety Forward and it got started for us, as Stacy said, October of 2019, and has really brought a huge change into Sacramento County and has really developed that group, as I mentioned, started at 10, and is now at about 40 members that cross 26 agencies and organizations, public and private organizations at the table, and we are lucky to have five community representatives as a part of that work as well.
Not only did it grow our membership and our ability, but also our structure. It helped us to identify those goals, create pathways to those goals, but almost most importantly, to document our work as we move forward and really allow us to capture all of the things that we learned and use those to continue to build our work and continue to improve our work as we went along through the initiative.
So it’s been a great opportunity for us, and I’ll talk more about what we’ve accomplished and some things that we’ve see change-wise later on.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: And Jasmine, just so folks have context, you said you’ve grown to a 40 or so members of the council. Clearly, you have nonprofits, and you mentioned the important role of community members in the collaborative. Tell us about who some of the other voices and participants are in that collaborative so folks can picture that as they listen.
Jasmine Brosnan: Yeah, absolutely. So we’re really lucky in Sacramento County to have a good history with collaboration and communication across our different systems and organizations. So yes, we had some community orgs at the table but also our child welfare is at the table, our Department of Human Assistant is at the table, and that includes anything from we have public health, behavioral health, substance use prevention and treatment, and then it goes on to our—we have Domestic Violence Agency at the table, we have our school, our county Office of Education at the table. We have hospital systems here with Kaiser and UC Davis, and so it’s a really broad and diverse group of folks. We have some law enforcement at the table with our district attorney and with our probation department, and so just having a huge number of different people but who all identify themselves as having a role in this work prevention.
Stacy Phillips: When we designed this, one of the things that we wanted to look at, we really challenged the applicants to really—we challenged them to look at their collaborative work, and to really identify how they were responding to child abuse and neglect cases and like who were their partners, and who were not connected with, and how were they addressing these? We left it kind of broad, like we said in the solicitation, we want to see what these partnerships are and who you’re with and we of course had our own ideas as to what we thought they would be, but we pretty much kind of left an example of like these are some of the ones you might think about and then you tell us who you’re going to be involving. So it was really cool to see all the sites but especially Sacramento. Come to the table with this plethora of partners, which you don’t always see.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Yeah, I think this is such a—it seems so intuitive when folks think about child safety and wellbeing to think about it takes a community, right? It takes a village, and often it’s the child welfare department that is carrying that with so much of that burden on their own and I think in Sacramento and the other Child Safety Forward sites, it’s such an important demonstration of the power of bringing community together on behalf of our children. It’s so important to see that.
Romero, you had an interesting purview across all five communities and I’m curious if you could tell us a little bit about the role of technical assistance so that we can sort of hold that as we go through the rest of the conversation.
Romero Davis: You know, with just the mention of Sacramento and of the collaborative approach, from the technical assistance standpoint, it is from that same lens that we want to be able to have the collective and the experience and the expertise so that we can look at this in a different way providing different perspectives, which is that power of collaboration. So when we initially applied for the opportunity, and really looking at the focus of what we really wanted to accomplish, we came in that with the mindset of who are some national partners that can help address these areas that we’re speaking about.
So from that side, on the evaluation piece, evaluation plus, Laura Pinsoneault and team just absolutely amazing. On the communication side, you know, we had Jennifer Devlin and team, Abby Collier for fatality review, and then Michael Callout of the University of Oklahoma—
Stacy Phillips: Jennifer Juster.
Romero Davis: Yeah, Jennifer Juster, you know, safety signs, and then again, the parent engagement, and then the support, you know, on the child welfare system improvement side of the table from Casey Family Programs, so all across the board, it was bringing together folks that we could help and learn together but have a really positive space and that’s the key around the technical assistance piece that I appreciate. And throughout that process, how much we learned from each other.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: That’s helpful to understand, Romero. Thank you for that.
So now that we are on the sunset side of this initiative, it’s time that a lot of communities are thinking about how to sustain either the entire body of work or components of the work going forward so one of the things that I’ve been really impressed with with Child Safety Forward and the work in Sacramento is how this grant served as a catalyst to carry the—to launch or in some cases carry work forward that was just starting but communities are really setting their work up for sustainability from the start. I’d love to hear a little bit about that from everyone’s different perspectives so, Stacy, maybe you could start by telling us about how you approach designing Child Safety Forward with sustainability in mind right from the start.
Stacy Phillips: So I think the biggest thing that we try to start with at OVC because we never know what’s going to happen with funding, and so we essentially want people to know that sustainability goes way past funding, and since we wanted this to be this all-systems approach coordinated response, one of the things that was really important is we wanted them to start from the beginning really identifying and building those partnerships and relationships with their internal and external stakeholders, really cultivating those connections.
I’m not sure that—and I don’t know that it’s distinctly with this initiative but in general I think we all kind of don’t understand all the gaps all the time with sustainability, and we always think it’s just about funding, and it’s really hard to look past that sometimes, right? I don’t want to minimize the importance of funding of course but I think from our perspective, we were starting right from the beginning and a technical assistance knew that and they were prepared for that. We learned so much from you guys at the Collective Impact Forum, really taking in a lot about backbone support and what that meant, and really kind of instilling that in the sites from the beginning.
I think the other big thing that was a big takeaway for us that Joye Frost wanted from the beginning was what she called a media blitz, and we had to be, you know, very intentional about how that was worded and what that was going to entail but it was really important that there was kind of this awareness campaign of what we were doing, and that was I guess wholeheartedly brought in by Jen Devlin in the media, and then of course all the sites but that was really important because we knew that getting the word out there, the communication piece aspect of it was going to really help build and cultivate those relationships long term.
Jennifer Splansky Juster:Yeah, Stacy, that’s really interesting so we a couple of months ago did a podcast with folks at the Tamarack Institute who published a great resource, what they call their 10 Guide for Building a Sustainable and Resilient Collaboration, and they had 10 factors for sustainability, and how many of those were about dollars? One, one of the 10, right? So I appreciate how you start with, yes, of course that’s important and it is one of many factors.
Then their framing talks about people factors, and that’s very much about like you were saying the backbone and the partnerships and the collaboration, and then they do have their resource factor so the funding, and then they talk about process factors, and one of those is that a compelling case drives the work and that’s so much about the communication and the media blitz that you mentioned, and then of course impact factors around measurement and data and evaluation. You already mentioned the importance of investing in evaluation through Evaluation Plus, and then I’m going to actually hand it to Jasmine now, and, Jasmine, as you talk, I’d love to hear a little bit about evaluation and how those other dimensions play out in Sacramento’s approach to sustainability.
Jasmine Brosnan: Yeah, absolutely. So we took the approach from the beginning with some foundational values, setting us up for collective accountability and collective responsibility, and acknowledging that no one agency or organization was responsible for the health and wellbeing of children in Sacramento County.
So we really built everything off of that collaboration with the perspective that everyone had a role. We really prioritized sharing resources and collaboration, so we worked on and continue to work on elevating community voice in our work because that’s, you know, shared power is what’s going to allow this work to continue in the community beyond the work that we’re doing already. We integrated and leveraged other efforts in our initiatives so we joined forces if you will with some of our other initiatives. We reduced some of that duplication of effort and then shared some of our—pooled some resources so it wasn’t about getting more money. It was about sharing the funds to accomplish the same goals that we all had in mind.
We focused on creating systems-level changes so not inventing a new program or a new process but really elevating and maximizing the benefits from the resources already available, and then we had our external evaluator who was a critical component to our work, not just because they allowed us to again document the work, learn from our efforts, start again when we are doing—when we know we can do a better job at something but also serving as a neutral party in the work and being able to help us with that accountability, that collective responsibility work, and so having an evaluator at the table has been tremendously important in our work.
We also have again the benefit of leadership. We have an excellent DOJ supervisor that was invested in the work and wanted to see us succeed. We have an excellent technical assistance team who was ready to help us with whatever it was that we were asking about, and so definitely utilizing the resources available to us in every way was a huge piece of our plan for sustainability, and ultimately led to us being marketable in the sense of then applying for that additional grant funding to continue to move the work forward.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Yes, and congrats, Jasmine, to the Sacramento team for using all of that investment of time and energy to then, as you just mentioned, successfully apply for some grants, more local California-based grants to sustain your work with some local funding so congrats on that, and through that funding and also, Stacy, through the funding coming from OVC, I think one thing just to underscore for funders listening is not only the flexibility but the encouragement of using funding for the backbone and for the collaboration and for the evaluation because those are the factors that enable these collaboratives to take root and move forward, and so often we see funders that are only funding the programmatic work which of course is important but those collaborative infrastructure elements if you will are often very hard to fund and so, first, on behalf of the field, thank you to OVC for that funding, and also I just want to underscore the forward-thinking nature of that.
Stacy Phillips: We actually always in our solicitations talk about wanting applicants to touch and talk about sustainability, and we typically only see, you know, a blanket statement in there of like, yeah, we’re going to try to sustain it and get more funding, and so it was exciting to see everybody—and I think again with the help of the technical assistance team because OVC is—we are not sustainability experts. We know obviously we’re experts at helping victims in the aftermath of crime, and we know what it takes but we also know that funding is not going to be there all the time, and so really honing in and allowing our technical assistance team to kind of drive that was, I think, a huge component of the success of that.
Romero Davis:And if I can just add to that, you know, I think from the technical assistance perspective it was also the power of the sites that, for example, like a Sacramento that really engaged community and made community a priority, and I think when you start to see those types of collaborations where community really starts to have that power and have that voice, sustainability becomes even deeper than just the ideal of it, becomes an obligation to make sure that you do what’s best for the voice of the people that you’re serving so I also want to give a lot of credit to sites such as Sacramento who embraced that approach, and that also drives those sustainability pieces.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Yeah, thank you, Romero, for uplifting that. You mentioned the community engagement piece, and, Jasmine, I know that that was a bit of a pivot in the middle of the project, and so when we think about sustainability and resilience, the resilience piece really means adapting and adjusting as the work unfolds, and so I’d love to hear from you when you think about what is contributing to resilience, what comes up for you? As we planted the seed maybe you can talk a little bit about the community engagement pivot but if there are other things too, let us hear about them.
Jasmine Brosnan: Yeah, so the community engagement piece, definitely it was a pivot, but it was also—we had always planned for it. We had always planned to have community voice at the table. We had always planned to let the structure be driven by our community, but it took time for us to find the right place if you will to stop and really engage and take that step that was really hard to take, right? We’re all afraid that we’re going to do something wrong when we, you know, we don’t want to keep doing the same thing. We want to make sure that we’re engaging in the best way possible, and so it really did take us stopping everything and just focusing our attention on this, and again taking advantage of the resources that were available knowing that we had someone in technical assistance that really was an expert in engaging community and really just being able to be open and honest and vulnerable about the fact that we needed help knowing the best way to approach this but also to be able to again grow and learn from our mistakes. We knew we weren’t going to get it a hundred percent right and so we are definitely just tremendously grateful for that opportunity.
Moving forward as far as sustainability is concerned and pushing that forward, it is tremendous to have our community representatives who are a part of our cabinet and who constantly are talking about the work with their friends, family, other organizations, other things that they’ve been offered chances to participate in as a part of this work. They’ve been included in all kinds of different things that maybe they would not have known about or been offered that opportunity had they not participated in this, and so that helps with sustainability within our community.
But beyond that, because we had great technical assistance, because we had an external evaluator as a neutral party to help us learn from our mistakes, and because we had great community members who stepped up and took these roles, we’ve been able to now share our learning across the state and bring that information to other folks and really talk about how we came to that conclusion, how we determined the best approach for engaging community, why we chose to have community representatives before engaging in listening sessions, and how things are going to go from there moving forward.
So definitely all of that was key and vital to our sustainability and will continue to be. It was another great thing that we were able to include when we started applying for those other grants and saying we’ve got community at the table and we want to help others engage community at the table, and so finding that in our work moving forward has been another blessing.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Thank you, Jasmine. Can you talk a little bit about—you mentioned the technical assistance on parent engagement, and I’d love to hear a little bit more about the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance who I know was providing that TA because they do have public resources that are also available for communities across the country so for listeners who might be interested in some resources on parent engagement, I’d love to have Romero or Jasmine or Stacy talk a little bit about Children’s Trust Fund Alliance and their resources on this topic.
Jasmine Brosnan: Well, I’ll start you off, but I know they’ve done far more than just what they helped us with.
Very specifically they were so great at just being open to whatever conversation we wanted to have, and it was never don’t do this. It was always, OK, if you’re going to do it this way, can we talk about these different ways to approach that, and here are some tools or some experiences, here are some tools or other places where you can gain that knowledge beyond just our opportunities. Exclusively one of the things they helped us with was building our role description, and so even the idea of having a role description for community representatives when they joined our prevention cabinet was completely novel and something that we would not have thought of on our own but something that has been so valuable that we’ve then moved from not just having them for our community representatives, also having them for the partners that are involved with them, and then also having them for any participant on our prevention cabinet because it really does become the vital role of having what’s expected of you outlined in a document, and understanding what collective responsibility looks like.
It’s just been a huge growth opportunity. We also continue to update that, and it allows us to continue to engage our community representatives in defining how their participation looks so that we’re not asking them to do something without asking them how they want to do that thing. So they’ve been there to help us revise those role descriptions, and the last time we revised them they even developed what is now another foundational value for us around acknowledging that health, mental health, physical health, wellbeing in general is a priority for everyone at the table, and so now that was meant to be added to the role description for our community representatives and we all kind of went, no, I mean that’s true for everyone, not just our community reps, and it made it all the way up the list into our foundational values and something that we talk about all the time now. Without Children’s Trust Fund Alliance, I’m sure that that was a huge piece that would have been missing, and just a great opportunity for us to learn from. That’s one thing out of the many that they helped us with.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: You’re going to get people from across the country calling you to ask, can I see those role descriptions? They sound very useful.
Jasmine Brosnan: Yes, well, you can find them linked in our final report and so when that final report gets posted, everybody can have a look but obviously we’re more than happy to share with anyone should anyone actually be interested.
Jennifer Splansky Juster:Romero, I know you were going to jump in here as well.
Romero Davis: Yeah, you know, just to—yes, everyone’s going to reach out now and try to reach out to Kara at Children’s Trust Fund Alliance but just a small add-to, I mean it was amazing to have that expertise especially coming from the expertise of someone with lived experience. We also realized that some of the challenges for sites were to elevate the families and parents into those relationships that we want to call equal power, right? And it was just being able to have that guidance from Kara and team, it’s just been such a critical approach. Even with that being said of just that ideal and the challenge around bringing families up to that shared power, I also just have to give a big shoutout to Sacramento and team for really understanding and wanting to make a pivot and wanting to get community involved, and already even having some results that were decent without really that component but recognize that, hey, this is maybe a pivot that we want to do and a change that we need to make and being brave enough in that space, and I do call it brave. I think now we want to call it intentional, right? Just that intentionality to bring in our families and communities when we know it, so I just want to give a big shoutout because I think that’s huge. I think that’s something that we learned, and I think it’s a valuable lesson that when we know it’s time to pivot, it’s the right time to do it.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Stacy, what about at the national level? I know that you also think about some of those pivots that have been made over the course of the effort.
Stacy Phillips: Yeah, you know I feel really lucky at OVC to have such forward-thinking leadership and colleagues honestly, and at OJP where when we need to pivot, we can. I feel very valued by them because when I go to them and say this is what needs to happen, I get the green light if it’s what’s best for children and families and for crime victims. So just want to give a shoutout for that because without that I don’t know how that would work.
The other thing is that we came in to this—I had done a demonstration initiative before and don’t get me wrong, it was great, it was amazing. We had great results but what I learned from that initiative was that a lot of times we set the parameters of, you know, we’re going to design this initiative and it’s going to do a, b, c, d, and e, and when the sites are like but wait, uh, uh, it’s like no, this is the initiative, a, b, c, d, and e. So what I learned from the previous demonstration initiative was that we have to meet people where they’re at if we want to really have the lessons learned to be able to duplicate and replicate things that are working, and it can’t always just be you’re going to do it this way.
Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely things and requirements that have to be done within a cooperative agreement but if we are really thinking about what’s best for children and families, what’s best for communities, what’s best for healing, then we really do need to take into account and be the first and foremost at the top level of what do they need, right? What do these communities need? What do these families need, and being able to say—and that’s what I said to everybody when it came time to pivot, you’re going to be able to pivot, we’re going to pivot when you need to because I want you—it wasn’t just about, oh, I want you to think outside the box. It was I want you to throw the whole box away because we’re going to do this right from the get-go, and that was one of the things that I loved about this is that we were able to say—they felt safe enough, the sites, especially Sacramento, felt safe enough to come to the technical assistance team and myself and say we either need help with this, we don’t know if this is working, we don’t know if this is the right way, what can we do? And it was like, well, all right, let’s figure this out, and sometimes it was whoop, we’re going to go this way now, and I think knowing that I could do that and have the support from OVC leadership, that was a really big deal for this initiative.
Jasmine Brosnan: I have to shout out to the Collective Impact Forum also though. I’m pretty sure that’s where I first met Junious Williams, was one of the Collective Impact Forums, and another hugely important person but just also even the opportunity to go and learn more about this on that platform as well but having somebody who continues to challenge us to keep going, right? Even though we feel really good, and we feel like we’ve accomplished some with our community voice and our community representation, there’s that other whisper in your ear that says you can still do more, and we can still move this forward, and we can still continue to get to that area, that leadership and ownership of those things from our communities, and so it’s been just tremendous to learn from that environment as well.
Stacy Phillips: I think also being able to say, you know, I’ve worked in three different states’ state government, Connecticut, Texas, and DC, and now at the federal level for eight years, and sometimes when we’ve been in these government entities for a really long time, you get into this idea of like, well, I don’t know if we can do that. Oh, I don’t know if we can do that, and I think I came to the initiative saying why not? Instead of we can’t, it was why can’t we? Why? And so if we’re going to put the voices of those first, then let’s do it. Let’s figure out how we can do it.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: That’s great. Thank you for that and thanks for the shoutout to Junious Williams. His work is definitely a leader. He’s such a leader for us and I know many listeners are followers of his work as well so we’re so glad to have made that connection.
Stacy Phillips: Well, we brought a ton—like collective impact was huge for us at OVC. When I first started learning about collective impact, I think I started thinking about it in 2017 and when I was getting my doctorate but then like getting—I had no idea you guys were going to be a part of the technical assistance team. Obviously when they applied I was like, oh, I was so excited but I kept talking about it with OVC, and I don’t know if you remember but we sent I think a good 15 or 20 people to your conference a few years ago in the midst of this because we wanted to learn, and I think that was a huge part of being forward thinking as well at the Office for Victims of Crime because we know that we need to learn from those that are like on the ground. I can talk about my 12 years of direct service, but I don’t do it anymore, so I have to learn from those that are on the ground every day and that’s the community.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Stacy, you definitely bring a learner mindset into how you lead this work and I think the communities really benefit from that. On behalf of the field again, really appreciate having folks from DOJ, from OVC, and other federal agencies that are interested in supporting communities to do this work because that’s where the real resources are, right? The most sizable resources are coming from our public funding streams, and often it is primarily small local foundations and philanthropy that are looking at this kind of innovative work, and when we can get large public agencies and their resources behind supporting place-based collaborative work with equity at the center, really, it’s good for communities.
Well, to close us out could you tell us each what you’re most proud of from this work?
Jasmine Brosnan: I can start. Obviously, we’re proud of everything that we’ve accomplished and we’re even proud of the mistakes that we’ve made because we’ve learned so much along the way. I can speak personally. In my personal experience I’ve learned so much about this community component and bringing community voice to the table, and being successful with having our community representatives but just the whole process, and spending all of that time. We also—so our community representatives have prevention cabinet partners so there are folks at the table that partner up together and help to learn from each other and continuing to share that model and to share across to other sites and other agencies and orgs all across California and even sharing in some of the larger conferences across the U.S. has been just a huge and a big opportunity and something that we’re definitely proud of being able to share our experience and to share, yeah, we didn’t get it right the first time, and, yeah, we waited way too long, and we get to share all of the things that we can now do better next time. That’s been great for us.
Stacy Phillips: Gosh, I don’t even know where to start honestly. I mean it sounds kind of cliché but it’s like I feel like you said, with the learner hat I’ve continued to learn so much from the sites and from the technical assistance team. It’s literally been ongoing. I don’t know that there’s been a time where we haven’t learned something, and I’m so proud of that. I’m proud of the sites and the technical assistance team and OVC for really allowing us to learn from each other and to have humble moments of, oh, that was not good or, ooh, maybe we should not do that again. I think that that’s a really huge part of the initiative, and I’m so proud that we can do that, right? That we can look back and say, you know, I’d like to think that when we know better, we do better, and I think that this initiative is like the foundation of that because I’ve watched the sites, especially Sacramento, and our TA team and OVC all pivot as we learn, and then we’re doing better, and I’m really proud of that.
Romero Davis: I mean I second all of that. I think what I’m really proud of is just really being able to be somewhat of a catalyst or a thought partner in different ways with the sites, and just being able to see that community voice be uplifted. That’s the things that I’m really proud of. I’m really to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing grant manager like Stacy that really helps, and again kind of is a catalyst to a lot of these different changes that we see across the country in these different sites in difference communities and difference people, and the impact that it has on just individuals who are even doing the work so all of those things. Just really proud to be a part of something that’s really intentionally built at uplifting parents and voices and communities. It’s been amazing so just proud of that and grateful.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Thank you, Romero. I would be remiss if we did not mention, Romero, your partner in crime, Amy Templeman, who also co-leads the technical assistance team and has been in this work for quite a while so thank you to Amy for her leadership on the technical assistance team with you, Romero.
Romero Davis:Yeah, Amy’s amazing. Amy is amazing, and just being able to learn from her so yeah.
Jennifer Splansky Juster:For folks that want to learn more and follow your work, I’ll just ask each of you where you would point people. So, Jasmine, where would you point people to learn more about your work?
Jasmine Brosnan: You can visit the Child Abuse Prevention Center website. We have some of our general Child Safety Forward work. We’ll have our final report there shortly so that will be available for anyone to take a look. We also have our membership page attached to that where you can find that role description and find our applications and everything to do with our Sacramento County Prevention Cabinet so that’s all at thecapcenter.org. Everything should be posted there but then it’s all as well posted with the Social Current and other places where you can find information about Child Safety Forward.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: And how about you, Romero?
Romero Davis: Yes, you can find out more information from us by visiting socialcurrent.org. We have a section in particular that has more information, details, reports on the Child Safety Forward site there, any key events that we have going on but again it will be socialcurrent.org. Thank you.
Stacy Phillips: It’s my turn. You can always find anything about OVC at ovc.ojp.gov. We showcase all of—we have a grantee showcase section on our website that we’ve been excitedly showcasing all the work from these sites and from our technical assistance team and from the evaluation but we also showcase a lot of our other programs on there as well as the great work that we do, and so that’s a great place for it, and I would say for the most information about this initiative particularly, I would go to Social Current because they are housing that website, that learning center which has all of the information, and that’s where you’ll find the most work about—the most information about this particular initiative.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: I think, Stacy, everyone’s going to try to figure out how they can fit their work into an OVC facilitation after listening to this podcast. They’ll be going to your site and to Social Current, and to check out the CAP C website as well.
Stacy Phillips: Come on down.
Jennifer Splansky Juster: Thank you all so much. It has been really fun chatting with you today and also getting to be in this work with you for the past few years so thank you for sharing your learnings, your lessons, your successes, and look forward to following the work going forward.
Romero Davis:Thank you.
Jasmine Brosnan: Thank you.
(Outro) And this closes out this episode of the Collective Impact Forum podcast. If you are interested in learning more about what was discussed, you can find links to resources in the footnotes for this episode. And if you’re enjoying all that we share at the Collective Impact Forum podcast, we encourage you to rate us on your preferred podcast platform, and share your favorite episodes with colleagues.
We would like to acknowledge that this episode was produced and edited on the unceded, traditional lands of the Coast Salish people, including the Duwamish, Suquamish, Stillaguamish, and Muckleshoot tribes. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the past, present, and futures of these tribes.
The Intro music for this episode was composed by Rafael Krux and our outro music is composed by Kevin Macleod.
In Forum news, we’re excited to share that registration is open for a number of upcoming online events. on Dec. 12 and 13, we have our primer course
Introduction to Collective Impact and the Backbone Role.” This is a great foundational course for anyone wanting to learn more about collective impact. And we just launched registration for the 2024 Collective Impact Action Summit, that will be held online next year on April 30-May 2, 2024. It’s our biggest learning event of the year, and we hope you will join us.
Please visit our events section of our website at collectiveimpactforum.org if you would like to join any of these upcoming events.
This is Tracy Timmons-Gray, Associate Director here at the Collective Impact Forum, and your podcast producer. I want to say thank you so much for listening, and we look forward to connecting with you more in our next episode. Until next time, let’s keep working towards collective impact.